Auto Street Cleaner (LOC)

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1910

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Bain News Service,, publisher.

Auto Street Cleaner

[between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]

1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller.

Title from data provided by the Bain News Service on the negative.
Photo shows street cleaning vehicle in New York City, made by Magnus Butler. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009)
Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

Format: Glass negatives.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,

General information about the Bain Collection is available at

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: LC-B2- 2461-2


Owner: The Library of Congress
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 9696
libraryofcongress dc:identifier=httphdllocgovlocpnpggbain10984 xmlns:dc=httppurlorgdcelements11 butlerautomaticstreetcleaner streetcleaner newyorkcity dumpwagon dumpingwagon magnusbutler

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    • 29/Apr/2008 10:52:19

    The machine says "Made by M Butler, Patents pending." A Charles H. Butler (from California) had several patents for street cleaning equipment, e,g,. and The drawings looks similar although not identical. Patent number: 808006 Filing date: Oct 20, 1904 Issue date: Dec 1905 Patent number: 880124 Filing date: Oct 20, 1904 Issue date: Feb 1908 Patent number: 909865 Filing date: Dec 16, 1905 Issue date: Jan 19, 1909 Patent number: 1134586 Filing date: Aug 25, 1914 Issue date: Apr 6, 1915 Patent number: 1610119 Filing date: Dec 15, 1924 Issue date: Dec 1926

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    • 01/May/2008 05:22:22

    I presume that the Magnus Butler who shows up in a couple of the pictures in this group was the M. Butler who made the Butler Automatic Street Cleaner. And I suspect that these photos were most likely taken in November, 1914, when New York's Department of Street Cleaning hosted a week-long Exhibition of Street Cleaning which, among other things, allowed manufacturers to demonstrate their street cleaning equipment.

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    • 15/Jan/2009 09:12:42

    Left hand side building in back ground has sign "The Baker & Taylor " which is probably The Baker & Taylor Co. publishing firm. Maybe this is The Century building at 33 to 37 East Seventeenth Street, which The Baker & Taylor Co purchased in 1901. (ref. )

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    • 04/Sep/2009 01:02:17

    Interesting vehicle! Solid rubber tires, extra spokes on both sets of wheels (16 front; 18 rear), chain drive, hand-operated horn, fuel tank under driver's seat, vertical steering column, right-hand drive, massive riveted steel frame.

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    • 04/Sep/2009 02:45:20

    I don't think Magnus Butler's machine is related to the pneumatic street sweepers in the Charles Butler patents. The Magnus Butler machine appears to be a mechanized dump wagon. There's no visible cleaning apparatus (rotary brush, conveyors, belts, etc.), just a tilting hopper with a gate at the rear and access doors on the sides. The streets of NYC were apparently still being cleaned by men with pushbrooms and hand carts. Machines were found to be less effective and more expensive than manual laborers. The Magnus Butler motorized wagon was probably designed as a collection vehicle to carry away the rubbish from the hand carts and dump it elsewhere. The raised letters on the rear wheel casting, visible in another photo, suggest the machine may have been made in Mass. (it could just indicate the maker of the wheel hubs, but the hubs are unusual, so they could have been custom-made ) See For more about street cleaning, download MODERN METHODS OF STREET CLEANING by GEORGE A. SOPER, PH.D. (1909) from the Internet Archive

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    • 04/Sep/2009 13:06:37

    There are lots of patents for mechanized dump wagons from the 1910s. Here are a few: Bingo! This one was filed in Lawrence, Massachusetts, by Paul Hannagan. The words "Lawrence Mass." can be read on the rear wheel hub of Butler's machine. Hannagan filed six patents between 1906 and 1916, all relating to street maintenance. Conclusion: Magnus Butler was the builder of this vehicle (the painted lettering reads "Made by M. Butler"), while Paul Hannagan was the inventor/designer, with "patents pending" at the time this photo was taken. Patent number: 1176677 Filing date: May 29, 1912 Issue date: Mar 21, 1916 The "Auto, Street Cleaner" doesn't mean "automotic street cleaner." More likely, it means "automobile, street cleaner."

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    Kristi (LOC P&P)

    • 15/Sep/2009 19:35:45

    Everyone, Thanks for all the industrious research on this street cleaner and its creators. We can now add a bit more detail to the caption when we update.