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Exceptional Wintertime Photos of Automobiles in the Snow

We’ve had our share of snow so far this winter in Vermont, and a new dusting of the white crystals fell overnight. So its time once again to roll out another sampling of vehicles and drivers dealing with the snowscape that mother nature left behind in images taken in Philadelphia, PA.

The lead image taken in the City contains a view of a woman posing while installing a tire chain on a mid-1950s Buick on the evening of February 2, 1957, while her daughter helps out by holding a flashlight.

This photo is in sharp contrast with the four-wheel drive cars of today many drive in the northern portion of the US. The most effort the drivers of these vehicles might have to do is flick a knob or lever into fwd before traveling. A number of the younger ones did not have to learn the art of winter driving, and they and some older drivers have become overconfident in their automobile and their driving ability; many of them end up in the median on the Interstates up here in ski country or off to the side of the roadway.

Share with us what you find of interest and can identify in the photographs courtesy of the Temple University Libraries.  View well over one-hundred vehicles in the snow in earlier postings.

  • An overhead view of drivers and cars crawling along on Midvale Ave. in the City on January 14, 1957.

  • An overhead view of evening rush hour traffic containing cars, trucks, buses, and streetcars in the City on December 12, 1951. 

  • And finally, a 1932 Chevrolet after a storm in Philly with a damaged rear fender. Who can identify the location where of this picture was taken by the monument in the background?

25 responses to “Exceptional Wintertime Photos of Automobiles in the Snow

  1. Hanging iron. It’s one thing in my 35 years of trucking I never did. The way I figured, if you needed chains, it was too rough to go out. Never did mountain trucking and hefty fines for not chaining up on the Colorado passes. $150 dollars if you fail to chain up( or don’t have snow tires or AWD) and if you block traffic because of failure to heed the warning, can cost $600 bucks! ($1,100 dollars in a CMV) 2nd pic, Caddy getting anxious. You can tell who has a garage. 3rd pic, looks like a Federal straight truck, judging by the front tire track and frosty windows, could have a problem and pulled over. The truck farther back looks like a REO. Last pic, apparently, is the Civil War Memorial on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The buses I believe, are double deck Yellow Coach.

  2. David, as always, I am thankful for the photos….but…. snow, cold, and especially chains ? Huge “YUK” ! I got stranded in Kentucky once in my Dad’s 63 Chevy wagon and had to install those finger freezing/ killing contraptions. Being young and not so smart, I drove too far, too fast with the chains slapping and clanking the rear fenders up pretty bad as they loosened . I learned a valuable lesson …. move to Hawaii, ha ! ( No, I don’t go up on
    Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa to see the snow )

  3. It’s the civil war soldiers’ and sailors’ monument in the median of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Pictured is the Sailors’ part. The photo appears mirrored.

    Google street view gives the address as 2028 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Soliders’ part. The photo appears mirrored given the appearance of the monument on streetview. There is a pole in the same location still. It appears rather old and has shadow marks on it. The bottom has a more modern part to dress up the base. Might be the same light pole.

  4. Oh….for what it’s worth, Mom & Daughter are putting chains on their `55 Buick. I’ll go out on a limb and guess a Roadmaster 2dr. hardtop.

  5. In photo 2, the truck’s front tire track indicates that it might have skidded to a halt. Meanwhile, the guy behind the bus is apparently going to plow into it. Slow shutter speed, maybe 1/4-second, to get maximum depth of field.

  6. I’d love to have that 1932 Chevrolet coupe with the side mounts, bent fender and all. My first car was a 1931 Chev coupe which was a far nicer car than the Model A Ford which everybody drove. The came the 1932 Ford V8…Oh boy!

  7. I guess that I’m snow-naive in Indiana, but I’ve never seen the pipe device they are using in the photo. Is it something used regularly?

    I always assumed you just lay the chains out, back onto them and then connect them at or near the top of the tire. No?

    • Hi Richard, the pipe device I think you are referring to is a flashlight. I might add, the chains look brand new. Sometimes, if you are stuck, you can’t back onto the chains. I would jack the wheel up, slide the chain under and drape it around fastening them at the top, like you say. I don’t see how these gals are going to get this.

      • Hi Howard,
        I think Richard is referring to the round tube/pipe the chain is wrapped around. Maybe it’s some gadget to help move the chain over the top of the tire. Some Northener out there will know for sure.

    • I think this may be a promotional picture for somebody’s “improvement” in tire chain technology. Note that there is no circumferential chain running around the inside of the wheel and instead the cross links are connected and held in place by a piece of springy tubing assuring equal spacing and a roughly round shape. You expand the tube to fit it over the tire and when released it contracts to hold the chain in enough of a circular shape that you could then drive forward and the wheel would “pick up” the chain so it could be easily fastened. “So easy, even your wife can do it!” is the message here, I think. Like most Better Mousetraps, it apparently didn’t catch on.

      I see some retouching has been done to,add some detail to the girl’s pitch black coat as well as the back of the woman’s coat.

  8. It appears the door glass on the 32 Chev is broken out? There may be more to that accident than a bent fender! Did the driver slide into the pole or did it get pushed into the pole by a snowplow?

  9. The picture of the street scene of Midvale Ave., you can tell which cars were garaged, and which cars are sitting outside during the snow storm.

  10. The movie theater is the Alden.
    The changing names of Phila. transportation companies…
    The Phila. Rapid Transit- PRT
    The Phila. Transportation Co.- PTC
    The South Eastern Penna. Transportation Authority- SEPTA

  11. I had a ’32 Chevy coupe just like the one in the photo, except 2 tone. Paid $25 for it in 1954. All 6 tires were bald or had the tubes showing out the sidewalls, great fun in the Colorado snow.

  12. I remember while as a member of a volunteer ambulance corps in New Jersey getting called out in the middle of the night to change tires from non chained tires to chained in preparation for snow. It was always a gamble if we would get snow or not. I also call being called out in the middle of a storm for an emergency. Half way to the call one of the links broke and got wrapped around the driveshaft. A bucket happened to come along and lifted our 1971 Cadillac Highboy so we continue. I now live in Florida so no more snow for me.

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