The Trucks We Grew Up With
Are you old enough to remember Divco milk trucks or Good Humor ice cream mobiles? Can you recall what kind of vehicle the mailman used to drive? Check out this nostalgic look back at some of the commercial vehicles once a part of everyday life in neighborhoods across America.
Was there any sound more intoxicating to American kids than the melodic chimes of the ice cream truck making its daily, afternoon rounds? In addition to regular and soft-serve ice cream, the classic treats of the Mr. Whippy’s-era included Rocket Pops, the Screwball, snow cones, and the Mickey Mouse Bar (to name a few). These colorful trucks were once a common summer afternoon sight on almost every residential street. The website darkroastedblend.com has complied a wonderful photo collection of these old-time vehicles that goes all the way back to the Wall’s ice cream bicycles that first began appearing in London in the 1920s, before the idea of “ice cream parlors on wheels” migrated here.
The first mail-delivery vehicles in the United States were modified commercial vehicles. From June 1929 to March 1932, for example, the Ford Motor Company sold Model A and Model AA chassis to the USPS, whose regional garages would then outfit them with mail-van bodies (in oak or white ash) painted in the USPS colors. This practice continued until 1954 when the first door-to-door mail truck was manufactured by the Twin Coach Company of Kent, Ohio. The United States Postal Service has put together a great photo gallery (click here to view) of postal vehicles used throughout the decades—everything from 1914 Autocar delivery trucks to the more recognizable sit-stand trucks (like the 6-cylinder, ½ ton, 1963 Studebaker shown above) of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Daily At Your Door
Before World War II, almost everything from ice to bread was delivered to your door. Ice trucks went the way of the horse and buggy when refrigerators became part of every American home. But bread vans still made daily neighborhood appearances during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Trucks with the Helms Bakery logo were one of the most iconic and memorable to anyone who grew up in Southern California during that era. Their unique, mustard yellow colored trucks and distinct "toot-toot" whistles would signal that the Helmsman had arrived in your neighborhood and would bring enough children running to make the Good Humor man jealous. Other bread companies using residential delivery trucks included Swanson Bakery in Glenwood Minnesota; Manor Bread Co. in Kansas City; and Firch Baking Company of Erie, Pennsylvania.
Are you a Boomer who remembers the “Charles Chips” man? How about when diapers and milk were still delivered to your door? Take a moment to comment below or head on over to the HVA’s Facebook page and share your favorite “delivery truck” memories and see what other members are saying.