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“Pollution Solver” Scrap Shredders Recycle Junk Cars

We usually feature photos of automobiles in the prime of their life, but today’s coverage contains 100s of vehicles about to set off the death knell marked not by a bell, but the sound of torture.

This set of images dated 1972 by the source contain a two different “Pollution Solver” automobile shredders photographed for the Carolina Power and Light Company in Raleigh, North Carolina. Due to the anti-pollution movement gaining ground in this period it appears likely these are promotional shots taken for use by the Company.

The machines appear to be powered by electric motors and visible in the background of the two different installations pictured here are large-sized electrical transformers feeding these units. No other details of the construction of the shredders are known at this time other than what is visible in the photos.

Visible in the expandable version of the lead photo below is at least five or six of the workers necessary to operate one of these beasts. In addition, there are the operators of two cranes, one used to pick up the cars, and the second used to load the processed scrap into train cars where yet another worker guides the second crane operator.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina.

15 responses to ““Pollution Solver” Scrap Shredders Recycle Junk Cars

    • Supports for an overhead crane runway. Probably for loading scrap into rail cars with an electro magnet like the one on the drag line crane.

  1. I was born in 1958. We often made a two-hour drive to our grandmother’s house. And along the way, there was a large junkyard along the highway with stacks and stacks of 1950s cars flattened and stacked like building blocks, waiting for whatever came next. I was always fascinated by the sight of those flattened cars, and of course now I bemoan how quickly people disposed of their vehicles back in those days. To be fair to the owners, the vehicles of that era undoubtedly wore out faster than they do today, and lemons were more common.

    • Biggest issue was rust. When the floors fell out and the fenders and quarter panels were flapping in the breeze there is no hope left.

  2. In the 3rd photograph, hanging in the “jaws of death” is a 1960 BUICK and in the middle of the pile, on the right, is the front-end of a 1956 BUICK Special.

    • Look closer, that’s a 1954 Buick. Notice the difference in the portholes, more of an exaggerated ellipse on the ’56 models and the front bumper you will see it has only one “roll” above the main bumper. The ’56’s have two levels or “rolls”. Also the side of the fender where the headlight would be is more representative of a 1954.

  3. This is definitely more of a large-city’s scrap operation for it’s day. When I’ve gone back to my grandparent’s town here in NE., (pop. about 4800) I cruise by the local junk yard, which hasn’t changed much in decades. They still have 1940s-50s junkers there for some reason, and apparently no plans to put them in the ‘flattener’ for scrap. I recall a neighbor there had a `55 Buick Roadmaster they wrecked in the mid-60s, and last I looked, it was STILL in this yard! Shows how some things never change.

  4. In the 4th photograph, in the middle of the pile on the left, is the body of a two-door 1956 PONTIAC Star Chief Catalina.

  5. Interesting to me in that none of these cars are rusty – they’re just dented and used up .. I suspect in rust belt states these model year cars (50’s) saw a much earlier grave than 1972.

  6. Those were the days when a car that was 10 years old and/or 100,000 miles was shot. Even if there wasn’t surface rust, there was often rust of the floorboards, etc. And the engines and transmissions weren’t worth fixing.

  7. Picture 3 I see a 57 ford in the fore front;
    Picture 4 I see a sixty something Merury Comet on the bottom of the pile

  8. Facility looks the same in Chicago by the river,except they are newer cars. Scrap dumped in barges though. Sometimes smoke is pouring out of the shredder, pollution solver?

  9. My father was in the engine rebuilding supply business. So as a boy l accompanied him to dozens of auto scrapyards. The crane picked up the car and placed on the bridge. The bridge had a belt that dragged the car to the slope. The slope had a belt helped by gravity that fed the chopper which spit out the shredded metal usually into buckets or dumpers.

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