Hello. I am restoring photos for a Museum in California and am trying to date this photo. On the back of the photo is said it is definitely the year 1919 or before.
But I am thinking it must be more like 1925 because of a few facts. Such as the Rexall Drug Store that is shown on the left. Rexall (a Canadian store) begin in the USA in 1920, and since this photo was shot in a country town (village) in CA the date must be later, they did the big cities first of course.
What I can see on the photo is the T on the left with three windows. Those windows were there in 1913, and still in 1917 and 1919. Maybe later?
Though what interests me is that there is no hard roof T shown. But on the right side of the photo, there are 6 cars. The 2nd and 3rd have three back windows, and the last two (3rd and 4th) have a spare tire mounted on the back, and just maybe what looks like a hard roof. The 6th also has a rear mounted spare. What this means (rear mounted spare) I am not sure. I cannot see if the spares are full spares or only the tires, which would give an indication of a non-demountable condition. Since in 1918 I thought the tires were non-demountable, that might be a clue.
All and all it is hard for me to date this photo. I am pretty sure you with your expert members should be able to tell me a year range if not exact year.
Thanks for any help you might be able to supply.
Here is a closeup of the right side, it might be easier to see.
I would guess about 1919 - 1922 as the "no earlier than" date. It could be later of course.
If you scan the photo at 300 dpi or better you should be able to zoom in and read the license tags and hopefully the years on several of the cars. That should be a great help in dating the photo. For an illustration of the difference between high and low resolution scans please see my posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/538954.html . It shows the same poor quality billfold size photo. At high resolution you can easily read the date on the license tag. Note some states used different colors for the tags each year and that also can help.
Below are some comments on the two left cars. But you cannot verify if 1920 or not based on them.
Note the three window top on Model T Fords in the USA was standard from early in the 1917 model year (which started in 1916 calendar year until the 1923 year ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#top ) The car above could maybe squeak into very early 1921 but in general the 5 piece rear tub ended with the 1920 model year cars. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/A-B.htm see 1917-1920 and 1921-1922 section. )
And of course any older car could appear in a later photo. So without having something 1920 or newer you cannot prove the photo was 1920 by the cars. If you can send me a higher resolution scan, I will gladly try to look at the license tags. And of course the California license tag folks may already know the answer based on the light background color of the tags.
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I believe they're 1922 plates. They have dark blue numbers on a white background. The 1916-19 Cal. plates also were dark on white, but they had a dark-colored symbol, such as a star or bear, on the left side. I'm not seeing any dark symbol on these.
p.s. -- 1920 Cal. plates had black backgrounds, and '21 plates were dark numbers on an orange background..
The Canadian Rexall and the US Rexall are TWO DIFFERENT entities. The US Rexall started in 1902 in Boston, Mass., by Louis Liggett (United Drug Company) but didn't start franchising 12,000 stores until 1920.
However, prior to WW1, Liggett got a small number of independent drug stores to sell their products under the Rexall name, PRIOR to the franchise deal. This might be one of those stores.
BUT, I am in favor of this picture not being earlier that 1920.
It may be my eyes are playing tricks on me but it looks like a horse is either pulling or being followed very closely by a car beyond the row of parked cars on the left side of the picture.
License plates are a great way to determine dates on photos. We have a photo of the State Theatre and Myers street in downtown Oroville on display in the theatre lobby, and folks are surprised when I tell them, "1945." But that's an easy one, only "modern era" year that CA only had one plate (no front plate), and the plates are black and white.
Of course, in our picture, the films listed on the Marquee would also date the photo, and maybe even the time of year!
How many panels does the rear panel have on the 17-22 Touring car. It kind of looks like one to me, that would place it 1921-22.
In my area, horses were still used into the modern era.
In my area horses are still being used. Not by the English of course.
Mike R. -- The bodies with the separate corner pieces went away during the 1920 model year. The Touring in the picture is a '17-'20.
Doesn't the '22 license plate thing mean anything to anyone except me?
Mike W. -- I think you are doing great work! Thank you! I want to open up the larger files that arrived today, but I need to stop for the night. Too many great discussions and things to learn and so little time....
Mike R -- As Mike W said, but since I typed it up I will go ahead and post it:
While is it hard to clearly see the lines where the panels join, it is very easy to see the top hold down bracket. On the earlier cars with the 5 piece rear tub from 1914-1920 (it actually is earlier but I donít have time to figure out how earlier) they used that style of top rest bracket. With the 3 piece rear tub came the top rest bracket that came out the side of the touring (along with the smaller arm rests). A person can fit the later 1921-1925 rear tub to an earlier car or vice versa, but the body molding do not line up and the width of the arm rest do not match and the number of panels 3 vs 5 do not match etc. For an older photo like the one we are viewing, it is highly unlikely that occurred on such a new at that time car. See: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#top and the 1921 comment about the top rest. So once I see those top rests coming down from the top of the rear seat (they donít on the 1920ish Canadian Fords) I then start looking hard for the 5 piece panel. And it could be a case of I am seeing what I want to see. But I am comfortable that they are there.
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Hap, am I seeing things, or do two of the cars on the left and one on the right have canvas tops?
Allan from down under.
Thanks Mike, Royce and Hap you for this great information! I have sent Hap some higher resolution photos so maybe we will hear what he has to say about this photo. I just cannot make out anything on the plates. Pity I don't have any color photos! I do have a image of the CA plates, don't know if it is good, can you tell me that?
Being new here, I don't know how to set my account so that I can receive automatically answers to my posts. Can someone tell me?
Earl, this is a very old forum format - I don't think it's possible to receive automatic updates?
You'll have to come back and search for the thread. Sometimes you may have to use google to search the forum - the keyword search has it's limits too (Hint: use the "Messages posted within the X days function to avoid overloading the search function with hits)
I think it's clear the easiest readable license plate was on the second car from the left, (the '17-'20 Model T Touring) and that it was either a '17 to '19 plate or a '22 plate due to the light background color as has already been mentioned. Since the numbers can be seen but no dark border line like in the '22 plate, I think it may have been a '17 to '19 plate - but with the symbol those plates had hidden from view by the tail light.
The distinction between US and Canadian Rexall companies posted by William Wanderburg above makes this fully possible to be a 1919 photo or up to two years before.
Since we don't know what town this photo was from, then maybe it's actually from another state? Lots of Californians has migrated there from other states and may have brought photos with them (or vistied other states with a camera)
..Or maybe this car was owned by a visitor from another state?
Here's for example a 1922 NV plate:
The section of the picture Hap is talking about is not the one that gives the latest date for identifying a Model T.
This picture shows a 1919 - 22 generator equipped Model T (yellow arrow) in front of the 1914 Pierce Arrow touring(red arrow):
You could be correct that the Model T Ford touring on the right is a starter/electrical equipped car. But even with the higher resolution copy that Earl sent and which I have cropped and posted below, I cannot really tell if the side lamp is or is not there. And if the side lamp is not there, is the side lamp bracket there but just not the side lamp? I cannot make it out one way or the other for sure.
Note, I believe we can see the top rest coming down from the top of the back seat along with the additional 5 piece rear body section. That would normally indicate a 1920 or earlier touring (see the photos discussing that above). So if it does not have the cowl lamp brackets but does have the earlier style top rest, then it would be a 1919 - 1920 touring. Or if the side lamp brackets and the earlier style top rest are both there -- then 1917-1920 touring. And of course if neither the cowl lamp brackets or the earlier style top rest are there then it would be a 1921-22 touring. But again the photo is just not as clear as I would like it to be.
Below are the two sides of the street cropped from the 770kb photo that Earl sent. (Earl Ė thank you for sending the scans. Iím sorry that we were not able to see much in them. By any chance was there plastic or something else over the original photo?)
Below was my failed attempt at clearly matching the license tags -- just not enough clarity for me to say for sure.
And below is a big clue on this photo. The note from the museum on when and where it was taken.
I apologize for the too large for the screen photos but I can post them now or tomorrow. So I did it now.
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(Message edited by hap_tucker on May 29, 2015)
I don't consider a ~700kb photo a "hi res scan", but it doesn't matter as the description says it is a print from a postcard. Postcards are notoriously poor resolution, so this is probably the best you can get from it.
I have worked from period original photographs and it is amazing what you can "pull" from them that isn't visible to the naked eye--even without having the original negatives.
Thanks, Hap and Mike. I knew of the body split @ 20, but I was so concerned about how many panels I over looked the top saddles,
Here is another Lancaster, California, photo taken from the roof of the buildings across the street from the drug store, above the P. Arrow touring car. The three pillared cover at or next to the drug store shows. The decorative urns are hard to see.
Another interesting sign on the back of the pickup shows " erolene". The Z is cut off.
Chevron got its start out there.
I couldn't find a "today" photo. Must be all gone. Thank you Earl for the workout. Interesting photographs.
Ken in Texas
Some previous Zerolene discussion.