An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Easy Washing Machine Salesman’s Car

Back in the Model “T” Ford days, it was popular to display a product that was for sale on the back of a salesman’s car. A coupe or a roadster with the addition of an accessory pickup box or a platform and some signage made for the perfect way to display the goods and keep them in the view of potential prospects. This Ford coupe is either a 1926 or ’27 model.

The Syracuse Washing Machine Corporation located in Syracuse, New York was the producer of the Easy Washing Machine between 1877 to 1967. The early machines were hand-powered and as the years passed the Easy washer was powered by either a 1/6 h.p. electric motor or a small gasoline-powered engine at the time this photo was taken.

The photograph is courtesy of Traces of Texas.

18 responses to “Easy Washing Machine Salesman’s Car

  1. Was the pickup box in the coupe a regular option or was it nessessary to modify the coupe body? I know later it was an integrated model in some makes, and I have a Chevy roadster that was modifies to accept a small pickup body. Just wondering if this was from the factory or dealer. Once again, thank you for your most interesting articles!

  2. During WWll and gas rationing, removing the rumble seat or trunk from a coupe, replacing it with a pick up box got you more gas for having a ‘pickup’.

  3. Today we laugh at the idea of a washing machine powered by a gasoline engine.
    But remember, many rural areas didn’t get electricity until the 30s, so it makes sense.

    • The Maytag 1cyl. two stroke washer engine is still easy to find around here in the Adirondacks where many isolated homes & farms were not electrified until after WWII.
      I bought one a few years ago, set up but $25. Furnace oil and heat freed it, it runs pretty well.

    • There were rural areas in the U.S. that didn’t get electricity until midway through WW II, John. I once met a man who ran the power plant in a chemical plant in Toledo, Ohio who told me that he was wounded during WW II and while unconscious he “dreamt” that he was back on his family farm. He told me that everything was exactly as he remembered it from when he’d left to go into the service with the exception of one thing, a power pole in the middle of his family home’s back yard. The man (his name was Ray Tannery) told me that it was odd because when he’d left to go into the service his family home didn’t have electricity. But when Ray finally got home from the war he found the pole exactly where he’d seen it in his “dream.” He added that he didn’t know how that could have happened and qualified it by saying that perhaps he’d received a letter (which, of course, had disappeared in the chaos of combat and his having been wounded) informing him that power had finally been run to his parent’s home; still, Ray couldn’t explain why he’d seen the pole with the wires on it in the exact place in his parent’s yard where he ultimately found it to be.

      • Henry was still dragging his feet, but the model T was on its last gasps by the 1926 model year. In an effort to update the look and appeal of the car, nearly everything changed a bit for the ’26 model year. Basically, everything on the car that you can see in this photo was different than it was merely months before. Many details, both visible and hidden, continued to change through that year and half for the ’26 and ’27 models. People that favor the “improved” model T have hundreds of minute details to obsess over, including at least four different styles of headlamps! Which brings me to my observation. I cannot see much of the headlamp between the fender (’26/’27 style), but something is unusual. There is a bar, likely a headlamp bar or fender brace running across the back of the headlamp. The earliest ’26s had no headlamp bar between the fenders. the headlamps were mounted on a post with a base that bolted to the angled side of the front fender and brace/iron. It wasn’t long before a few flaws in the design showed up. The more complicated stampings of a slightly lighter metal than previous years were prone to vibration. That vibration resulted in cracks in the fenders, and a prematurely aged look. A few after-market suppliers quickly offered add-on headlamp braces which helped a bit. Ford responded by adding one of their own on ongoing production. Ford then improved the first effort, and then improved it again as the headlamp bar changed positions, and methods of being mounted, and became much more stout.
        This car does not have the later and better headlamp bar. I am not a hundred percent sure (I prefer much earlier Ts myself), but I am fairly sure this car does not have a Ford factory brace at all, and likely therefore is a rather early ’26 with maybe an after-market brace to reduce the vibration of the fenders, and post mounted headlamps.
        Wood wheels versus wire wheels on ’26s and ’27s are a continuing debate still. One thing for sure. Ford sales literature and change records do not entirely agree with photographic and sales records in regards to car colors or wheels. Literature often states that optional colors and wire wheels were standard on the enclosed body Ts by several different dates. But photographs and sale receipts often show black and wood wheels much later. Even fordor sedans with the last style headlamp bar (a true ’27 feature!) can be seen in era photographs with wood wheels. Some years ago, a fellow I know restored a very original June ’26 coupe. Several months after sales literature had first stated all coupes would would be provided with wire wheels and in a bright color (one of three I think at that point). His very original coupe was clearly black inside and out, and had wood spoke wheels. I have known several such cars over the years.
        There were a number of production delays due to the new type paints being used, and the totally new style welded spoke wheel. It is generally believed by many model T people that these delays resulted in shortages that Ford continued to use the black bodies and wood spoke wheels of which they had no shortage. In spite of sales literature and change orders.

        No intention to step on Gregory Wells’ observation below. Most later coupes did have wire spoke wheels. And I think he is right about it being an early ’26.

        Also not widely known. However, the earlier type 30X3 1/2 clincher demountable wheels and even the two-size non-demountable clincher wheels continued to be an available option almost until the end of production. Although specifically stated that those options were available on the open car bodied Ts, and some sales literature does state that all enclosed cars would have the welded wire wheels, several factory photographs are known to exist showing fordor sedans with demountable clincher wheels on them! I don’t know if I have a copy of those pictures or not. I may need to look for it?

  4. The wood spoke wheels suggests 1926 is most likely, as Ford starting using wire spoke wheels on most body styles about mid-way through the 1927 model year; exact date depended on the specific production plant.

    Model T production ended on May 26, 1927.

    • They look like G-men on the hunt for gangsters. They’ll “rub ’em out” with the help of the washing machine.I

      But that’s how businessmen dressed back then, the hats make them look lough.

      One more thing…look at the lettering font on the auto, looks very modern.

    • Plus the observation of how short men’s ties were back then compared to nowadays – with vests being ubiquitous, long ties weren’t necessary.

  5. Interestingly, the original building for the Syracuse Washing Machine Company and their Easy Wash Washing machine is still standing in Syracuse. After 1967, the building was purchased by Allied Van Lines and used as a storage building. Today, it is a beautiful apartment building

  6. Contemporary newspaper advertising by the Syracuse Washing Machine Corporation included a picture of the sales truck, to probably show prospective customers that if they lived in an isolated area, the company would bring to them a machine for their inspection.

Leave a Reply to john sullivan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *