Re: 1940s tank car questions

Douglas Harding <dharding@...>

The reason for applying oil to gravel roads in Iowa was simply to keep the
dust down. It was not to create a paved surface. While some counties did the
spraying, it was most generaly applied by a private contractor and paid by
the local farmer whose wife did not want road dust on her fresh laundry.
Typically they paid for the stretch of road that was adjacent to their farm
house, nothing more. So you would be driving down a road, raising rooster
tails of dust, then hit an oiled stretch of a 100 or 200 feet, then back
into the dust, until the next farmstead. And all the problems Jack described
did occure, and still do. Though oiling roads has fallen out of favor,
probably due to air conditioning and clothes dryers as much as to
environmental concerns.

At the same time period the state and/or counties were slowly converting
gravel and dirt roads to hard surface. Concrete or asphalt was used for this
purpose. The heavy oils that had to be heated, again as Jack described.

Doug Harding

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