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U.S. Mail trucks (before 1920) - Glass negative photogrpah. Public domain.


U.S. Mail trucks (before 1920) - Glass negative photogrpah. Public domain.



Date from negatives in same range.
Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947.
General information about the National Photo Company collection is available at
This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings.
Temp. note: Batch seven.

The automobile was first invented and perfected in Germany and France in the late 1890s. Americans quickly came to dominate the automotive industry after WWI. Throughout this initial era, the development of automotive technology was rapid. Hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included the electric ignition system, independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Transmissions and throttle controls were widely adopted and safety glass also made its debut. Henry Ford perfected mass-production techniques, and Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler emerged as the “Big Three” auto companies by the 1920s. Car manufacturers received enormous orders from the military during World War II, and afterward automobile production in the United States, Europe, and Japan soared.

During the administrations of Presidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, the National Photo Company supplied photographs of current news events in Washington, D.C., as a daily service to its subscribers. It also prepared sets of pictures on popular subjects and undertook special photographic assignments for local businesses and government agencies. The bulk of the images were created between 1909 and 1932. The photographic files of the National Photo Company, including an estimated 80,000 images (photographic prints and corresponding glass negatives), were acquired by the Library from its proprietor Herbert E. French in 1947.

This collection is made of historic photographs of trucks that belong to the period before the end of World War I. Like every similar Picryl collection, this image set is made with aid of neural network image recognition. A manually picked dataset to train the machine was required first. Once trained, the AI made it possible to go through millions of images to find possible matches. Without this, extensive multi-sourced topical collections would be impossible to create. The image tagging process requires quality control to get rid of false-positive matches. Without human oversight, in this set, there would be false positive things on wheels such as carried artillery, horse carriages, and so on. GetArchive's goal is to deliver relevant results for every meaningful search request. Right now we collected 25 Million images to go through - please donate or subscribe to help us to accelerate this process!





united states


Library of Congress

Copyright info

No known restrictions on publication. For more information, see National Photo Company Collection - Rights and Restrictions Information

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glass negatives
glass negatives