Thursday, 20 November 2014

Behind the Photo: The Eaton's electric truck of 1934

Often I will see an old photo or ad and spend some time digging into the back story. Sometimes I find a great story, sometimes not. Either way, I learn a few things about the city's history. Here's my latest attempt:

November 9, 1934, Winnipeg Tribune

In November 1934 the T. Eaton Company introduced this electric delivery truck to its Winnipeg fleet. The chassis was by the Walker Vehicle Company of Chicago, builders of electric delivery trucks between 1907 and 1941.

Chalmers March 26, 1938 Tribune

For the truck body, Eaton's turned to local company Chalmers Auto, Truck and Body Works, to create a custom design in its traditional blue, red and white livery.

Chalmers was founded by James Chalmers who came to Winnipeg in 1909 from the Orkney Islands and started a blacksmith and carriage repair shop at 342 Nairn Avenue. That business evolved into and auto body repair custom body shop that did work for many local dairies.

January 19, 1946, Winnipeg Tribune

Whatever happened to the truck? Searching newspaper and other archives, I can find no mention or photos of it in action. The one exception is a classified ad in the January 19, 1946 Winnipeg Tribune selling it for $300.

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