- Written by webmin
Here’s the deal. We need your help and imagination right here. Or ultimately, we should say, Dean Highfield is looking for your assistance. Dean lives now in Panama City, Florida, but like the rest of his family, he’s originally from Oil City, Pennsylvania. Dean mailed us this ancient photo that he found amidst his mother’s belongings. He asked us, and we’re asking you brilliant people from the Hemmings Nation, to tell him what’s in the photo.
For whatever it’s worth, here’s my guess: Those may be pickle tanks mounted on the early, open-cab trucks. Oil City is in Venango County, Pennsylvania (interestingly, right near a town called Coal Hill), maybe 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. We all know that H.J. Heinz, of pickle legend, is based in Pittsburgh. The railroad cars in the background are 40-foot outside-braced wooden boxcars. Back in the early 1920s, the likely date of this photo, it was common for pickles to be transported in brine, without refrigeration, so for even a long trip (the Missouri Pacific Railroad went all the way to Texas), a boxcar full of pickle tanks would have made sense. Heinz operated its own pickle tank cars beginning in the late 19th century, but like these trucks, they used individual barrel-type tanks mounted on a flatcar frame.