No. 153: Pump Like An Egyptian

Pause for a moment, fellow traveler, to give a hat-tip to Ctesibius. Or should that be a nemes* tip? Ctesibius was an inventor in Egypt during the second century BCE. (That was the Ptolemaic Dynasty, of course.) He’s credited with creating the first force pump, a machine to move water. Without Ctesibius, our nation’s fireContinue reading “No. 153: Pump Like An Egyptian”

No. 151: Stodgy Dodge

How many seasons has it rested here, the prairie wind sharp and whistling because nothing stands in its way except the battered sides of this old Dodge pickup? When did its owner finally walk away without a final glance? What did it haul? Where did it go? What human activities took place in its 6.5-footContinue reading “No. 151: Stodgy Dodge”

No. 150: Intentionally International Tough

International trucks. The words conjure images of large, no-nonsense machines operated by large, no-nonsense guys – the sort of hauler you’d see at the dump, the warehouse, the docks. And those images were accurate: The International was … …well, built to work. It was what the plumber drove; his might have a utility body thatContinue reading “No. 150: Intentionally International Tough”

No. 149: Bonded, Not Bondo’d

They just never stop working. A truck built nearly seven decades ago may have started life carrying produce to the market, cinder blocks to the job, hay to the cattle. But time slows even the best machines. And so this 1951 Chevy 3100 Thriftmaster has taken on an easier life: as a billboard to aContinue reading “No. 149: Bonded, Not Bondo’d”

No. 148: Ho-Ho Hauler

A few years ago I volunteered my truck to pick up discarded Christmas trees and take them to a chipper. It was a Cub Scout fund-raiser. I was the Cubmaster. I had to lead by example. And so, on a chilled Saturday morning just after New Year’s Day, I jumped in my truck’s cold cab.Continue reading “No. 148: Ho-Ho Hauler”

No. 147: Hauler Of All

Someone got it this far. Then, nature did what it always does: Its green tendrils reached out. With leaf and limb, it drew the machine close. Peeking from all this foliage is a first-edition Dodge D100 pickup. The D100 marked a styling departure from the mid-‘50s Job Rated machines – wider, not as tall, aContinue reading “No. 147: Hauler Of All”

No. 145: Dodge Goes to War

It’s well known that America was hardly ready for a global conflict when one crash-landed on its lap on Dec. 7, 1941. Our nation had to gear up, and fast, for a war that would spread across oceans and continents. That included building trucks. Dodge responded with the WC, a series of half- and three-quarter-tonContinue reading “No. 145: Dodge Goes to War”

No. 144: The Loadmaster

It was running when I parked it, No. 144: The Loadmaster. This old hoss carried melons from the farms of south Georgia to the freight yards of Atlanta. It trundled bundles of bright leaf to warehouses in Greenville and Rocky Mount. It carried pumpkins from central Michigan to trucking terminals in Kalamazoo. It took hardhattedContinue reading “No. 144: The Loadmaster”

No. 136: Something New!

It was time. As the end of the decade neared, Chevrolet’s tough-ass line of pickups, the 3100, had grown old. In 1959, Chevy introduced the C and K series of trucks. Owners reported it rode as much like a car as a truck. “C” meant light-duty, rear-wheel drive. The “K” designation meant four-wheel drive. IfContinue reading “No. 136: Something New!”