|Title||Man showing pitted windshield to police officer, Seattle, 1954 |
|Caption||Starting in Bellingham in late March, the Windshield Pitting Epidemic of 1954 spread so-called "mass hysteria" to Seattle, becoming a textbook example of collective delusion. Tiny holes, pits and dings were suddenly appearing in windshields at an unprecedented rate. First thought to be the work of vandals, the explosive spread of incidents led to such theories as cosmic rays, a mysterious unexplainable atmospheric event, sand-flea eggs hatching within the glass, a shift in the earth's magnetic field, and even gremlins. By April 15, 1954, 3, 000 windshield pitting reports prompted Seattle Mayor Allan Pomeroy to wire Washington State Governor Arthur Langlie and President Dwight D. Eisenhower asking for state and federal assistance for this emergency. One group of scientific experts included members the University of Washington's environmental research laboratory, the applied physics laboratory, and the chemistry, physics, and meteorology departments. Reports of pitting incidents ceased by April 17 once people finally realized they were seeing something that had been there all along. |
|Notes||Handwritten on sleeve: AUTOS, Windshields, pitted.|
Caption information source: P-I research file; Historylink.org.
Date photograph was filed at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (date of photograph and file date may differ by a month or more): April 20, 1954.
|Subjects||Windshields--Washington (State)--Seattle; Automobiles--Washington (State)--Seattle; Police--Washington (State)--Seattle |
|Places||United States--Washington (State)--Seattle |
|Digital Collection||Museum of History & Industry Photograph Collection |
|Image Number||1986.5.571.1 |
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or to inquire about permissions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 206-324-1126. Please refer to the Image Number and provide a brief description of the photograph. |
|Credit Line||Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle; All Rights Reserved |
|Repository||Museum of History & Industry, Seattle (MOHAI) |
|Repository Collection||Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection |
|Physical Description||1 acetate negative: b&w; 4 x 5 in. |
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned from original negative as a 3000 pixel TIFF image in 8-bit grayscale, resized to 600 pixels in the longest dimension and compressed into JPEG format using Photoshop 6.0 and its JPEG quality measurement 3. |