Three men stirring a barrel at a Gates Rubber Company picnic seems pretty innocent all on its own, but how innocent depends on when this photo was actually taken.
We don't actually know when Harry Rhoads took this picture. Based on contextual clues, our photo catalogers determined that this picture was snapped some time between 1930 and 1940. That matters because, as you might know, the Volstead Act (Prohibition) was repealed in 1933.
So if the men of Gates Rubber were stirring up a barrel of "jungle juice," "hooch," or other impromptu alcoholic treat at a picnic after 1933, this picture does not depict a crime. If the photo is pre-1933, and the barrel contains alcohol, we've got a genuine crime scene photo on our hands.
Regardless of when the photo was snapped, and what's in the barrel, we sure hope these Gates Rubber employees thoroughly washed that piece of lumber before they started stirring.
No matter what's in your barrel, we hope all our customers have a happy, and safe, Memorial Day Weekend!
After having done some sleuthing (with help from Chris), I'm going to say we've got a crime on our hands. The license plate in the picture is definitely a Colorado plate, and looks like it could be 1923 or 1933. That particular format, with the state abbreviated to "COLO" and the year next to it, was used off and on for a time, but the colors on the plate are more telling because plate colors changed every year. Plates in 1923 were white on black, while plates in 1933 were black on orange.
Additionally, the number on the plate gives us a great clue. In 1923, the numbers 94-001 - 97-000 were used in Arapahoe County. In 1932, the state began county-coding its plates. The numbers 1-63 were assigned to each of the 63 counties in Colorado, according to their populations. Denver, being the most populated, was number 1, and Hinsdale, being the least populated, was number 63. There was no county 94.
So, from what I can see in the picture above, I believe the license plate is from 1923, and these men were definitely livening up their company picnic with hooch.
Well done Keli and Chris! I wonder what the statute of limitations is on Volstead Act violations?
Hold on now... it was never my intention to be a snitch.
In all seriousness: Further bolstering the apparent timeframe is the fact that, based on the odd, flared shape of its soft-top, and the distinctive porthole-esque windows, the vehicle appears to be a 1922 Chevrolet Touring Car.
Excellent research CROOT! I think we can safely surmise that the Gates Rubber Company HR Department subscribed to a "spirit of the law" approach to employees activities. Thanks!
I think it's an unfair conclusion to say they are making some type of alcohol in the barrel. After all, they worked at the rubber company. Perhaps they are demonstrating new mixing strategies for glue batches!
That's a possibility we hadn't considered, Ken. I guess it would be fair to say you're the sort of person who sees a barrel as being half full (of experimental glue!). Thanks for the great comment!
You're so right, Ken! I was guessing that they wouldn't be mixing lemonade in such large barrels, but it could be glue. That the man on the right is dipping his mug into. :) Did prohibition cover sniffing glue?
After careful review, we've determined that the Volstead Act did not cover airplane glue, Carbona, gold spray paint...
The widespread disregard for Prohibition included President Harding's White House parties with confiscated liquor from the IRS Prohibition Unit. This is from the Mental Floss online article "11 Booze Soaked Facts About Alcohols Role in American History". President Harding is cited in Fact #10.