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We Hope Your Friday Commute is Smoother Than This


It seems that traffic jams are not a development, which was caused by the advent of the National System of Interstate Highways. Traffic in and around cities and highly populated areas had been congested even before use of the automobile became common. Ten years after it became an accepted form of transportation, the streets and highways around most any metropolis were clogged during rush hour. At this same time the Saturday Evening Post coined a term for it: the traffic jam.

The photo above, circa early thirties, shows a number of cars caught in a traffic slowdown at an unknown location. That is all except for the lone Model “A” Ford seen heading in complete freedom in the opposite direction. Many of the cars are easily recognizable, but we will leave the fun of identifying all of them to our readers. Please do tell us what you see along with where you believe the photograph might have been taken.

And finally for a bit of interesting reading over the weekend about the history of traffic, take a few moments to check in at the Cabinet to read an article titled: Blocking all lanes. There you will learn about one of the earliest traffic controls measures taken which occurred in London, England during 1722 on the London Bridge. Photo courtesy of the Benjamin Ames Collection. Many more traffic jam related photos can be seen here on The Old Motor.

4 responses to “We Hope Your Friday Commute is Smoother Than This

  1. Well, I almost forgot:the Willys is of course a coupe. There is another coupe behind the only roadster in the picture. I think the photo was taken in 1931-32

  2. The open (touring) car looks like it could be a Studebaker Light 6 from about 1922. Two cars behind it is another Buick.


  3. I believe this photo shows a road in Illinois in 1930. The license plate is the correct format with white looking numbers and letters on a black background as well as what looks like “ILL” over “30” on the right hand side of the plate.

    Additionally, as many as six cars show supplementary city tax license plates attached to the car. The first car on the right and the second car on the left look like they have the Chicago tax plates for 1930. These Chicago plates had the same color scheme as the license plate expect for the word “Chicago” at the top which had the colors reversed. To my knowledge, Chicago was the only Illinois city that had the reversed colors at the top on the tax disc.

    The first car on the left appears to carry a second tax plate in/on the windshield. I believe that reciprocity already existed by this time in Illinois, so this seems very unusual. The third car on the right also has a tax disc mounted to the windshield.

    Without a clearer photo the identity of the other tax plates is not possible. Too many cities used the exact same format each year. Some cities did use unique shapes so that their plates would stand out. One example is Oak Park which had an acorn shape in the middle of a large rectangle.

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