WPA Today   

Machinery & Equipment

WPA Poster

Machinery and Equipment used on WPA projects
(See Photos Below!)
      The WPA was usually more concerned with hiring large numbers of jobless people rather than with utilizing the best possible machinery and equipment.  Still, there were plenty of WPA projects that did make use of trucks, tractors, road rollers, jack hammers, etc., either because one or more of the WPA workers had experience with such machinery and equipment, or because the job was simply too difficult to perform entirely by hand & hand tools, and so a decision was made to hire a private contractor to assist.


Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, all black and white photos were taken by the WPA, are in the public domain, and provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.  All color photos--unless otherwise noted--were taken by Brent McKee.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit descriptions.  

Above: A portable stone crusher on Turkey Neck Road in Garrett County.  The description card reads: "Guard installed at...wheels and belt by S.R.C. upon recommendation of Safety Repr (sic)."  Apparently, there was concern that a worker could fall into the belt or the crushing device (Maryland WPA project #3357, November 1938).

Above: A road roller on Maryland Route 23, near the towns of Blackhorse and Shawsville, Harford County (Maryland WPA project #3273, April 1938).

Above: A grader on Harris Mill Road in Baltimore County (Maryland WPA project #593, October 1936).

Above: A road roller on Market Street in Aberdeen, Harford County.  The description card for this photo reads "View of completed improvement on Market St.  New curb and gutter and roadway resurfaced." (Maryland WPA project #537, November 1937)

Above: A small and odd-looking grader, back-filling a sewer trench in Brunswick, Frederick County.  Note the three steering wheel-type controls by the operator, the scraping blade in the middle, and what appears to be a roller attached to the rear of the grader (Maryland WPA project #522, November 1937).

Above: These workers are resurfacing a road in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore City (Maryland WPA project #507, August 1936)

Above: A closer look at the resurfacing machine in Druid Hill Park, showing a mixture of stone and asphalt (Maryland WPA project #507, August 1936).

Above: This machine is creating a trench for a storm water drain in Salisbury, Wicomico County (Maryland WPA project #502, May 1936).

Above: These WPA men are removing street car rails from Jefferson Street in the city of Frederick.  The truck seems to be carrying a large air compressor to run jack hammers (Maryland WPA project #3945-2, June 1942).

Above: This WPA worker is at Camp Ritchie in Washington County.  The description card for this photograph reads: "Bubbler type portable water fountain provided by state safety consultant for trial since April 22 1936.  It has proven highly satisfactory." (Maryland WPA project #206, June 1936)

Above: A power shovel excavating a farm-to-market road near Edgewood, Harford County.  This could be a steam shovel, but more likely it is diesel-powered (Maryland WPA project #295, December 1935).

Above: A grader on Highland Road near Ellerton, Frederick County (Maryland WPA project #3865-6, April 1941).   
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