12 thoughts on “Safety Week, 1944

  1. On March 18, 1944 (p. 11) The Oregonian published a story titled “Public Hazard Seen Growing.” It said there was an increasing number of accidents in the USA and decreasing number of civilian doctors, so advocated “observing safety precautions not only during the week of March 20, termed “Safety week,” but all through the year. Safety kits were distributed by the Red Cross through its motor corps “containing study and discussion materials for pupils in Portland public and parochial schools.”

    On March 24 (p. 10), the paper ran an article titled “Inspections of Car Urged.” ” Commissioner Fred L. Peterson Thursday urged Portland motorists to take advantage of the city’s motor vehicle inspection station as a means of keeping their cars in good condition and preventing accidents…. Peterson stressed that the current safety week campaign should serve as a reminder to motorists to keep their cars in good condition.” Although the article doesn’t say where the inspection station was, I wonder if it’s pictured in today’s entry?

    Three days later (March 27, p. 9) the paper reported, “Safety week drew to close Sunday with 17 persons injured in 12 automobile accidents in Portland. Highest number of injuries in any one accident was at S.E. 34th and Hawthorne boulevard.” The article goes on to detail the accidents and victims, including fractures and scalp lacerations.

  2. Liz– The inspection station still is standing at 2856 SE Milwaukie ave, (Powell & Milwaukie) and can be seen in the VP photo from January 23, 2014.

  3. The Harry Truman lookalike on the left wearing coveralls over his suit looks like he’s having the most fun with his swaggy, “can-do” pose. The tall gent in the center doesn’t know what to do with his hands, he looks uncomfortable. The fellow on the right looks more comfortable but he’s breaking the “don’t put your hands in your pocket” rule many of us heard as kids.

    Those ambulances are certainly more beautiful than those of today but definitely far less equipped.

    Driving certainly seems to bring out the worst in people…the only thing I miss about living in Portland is TriMet.

  4. Thanks, Dennis. When i looked at the VP photo for Jan. 23, 2014, I saw the firemen’s practice tower over on the right side of the 1939 photo, and immediately recognized where that photo was taken. That fire practice tower was always a landmark when I was being driven around town in my Dad’s car, and yes, the old vehicle inspection bldg. is still there. I wonder what it’s being used for today?

  5. Vehicle inspections to ease the load on fewer civilian doctors! Makes good sense. My grandfather was indifferent to vehicle maintenance. I recall three incidents before I was 9 when he could have killed us because his Ford pick-up hadn’t been regularly checked out. The last incident was south of Chehalis where we were to have shared a Thanksgiving dinner – had the engine not caught fire. We spent the day at a Forest Service Station until my uncle came to rescue us.

  6. I forgot to ask if anyone knows the story behind radiator covers? Seems like it would restrict airflow…

  7. @ wploulorenziprince,
    That is exactly what the radiator covers are for. Often in cold weather, the engine thermostat doesn’t open very far, and the radiator is almost as cold as the ambient temperature, so the cold air flowing through the radiator cools the engine too much, and it doesn’t get up to normal operating temperature. This is especially problematic for the carburetor in our humid winter climate. It requires heat to vaporize the gasoline. Some of that heat is ducted from the exhaust manifold, but if that isn’t sufficient in cold weather, due to the cold wind blowing past it, ice will form in the throat of the carburetor, restricting the amount of air in the fuel-air mixture. This affects operation at low engine speeds and at idle, causing rough running, black smoke from the exhaust pipe and stalling. This was such a problem in an International truck I used to own that often in winter when approaching a stop, I would have to operate the brake with the ball of my foot and simultaneously operate the gas pedal with my heel to keep the engine running when the clutch was disengaged. Having a cover over the grille markedly reduced that problem.

    Radiator covers aren’t used much anymore because with the introduction of pollution controls in the 1970’s, manufacturers were required to control the carburetor temperature much more carefully to keep the fuel / air mixture in the zone for ideal combustion. Now, nearly all cars are fuel injected as well as having good temperature control and the radiator covers aren’t generally needed except in very cold weather.

  8. A radiator cover allows the engine to heat up as fast as possible and then helps keep the engine at a constant temperature while driving through all kinds of weather.

  9. Wow, thanks for your replies to my radiator cover question Ron K & Robin Thompson.
    Cheers!

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