16 Comments

  1. Agree, the elevator one is very clever! It would go very nicely as anchor with a collection of Horace Horse strips of variations on the elevator theme.

    Also I like the semi retirement home. And as a personal ignorance confession, I admit to not understanding until a couple years ago why semis are called that.

  2. Oh sure — I just assumed I was the last to know.

    A semi is a semi-trailer. You can have a tractor-trailer combo truck, where of course the trailer is the front part (with the cab, the engine, and the drive wheels). The trailer part is then a full trailer, that is, it has wheels at all four corners. The full trailer when unhooked from the tractor is freestanding on its own, and could be rolled around on its full complement of wheels.

    The semi-trailer has wheels only on two corners, the rear. At the front, it rests on the swivel hookup of the tractor, which bears the weight onto the drive wheels. The semi-trailer, when not hooked up to the tractor part of the truck, can be freestanding thanks to support legs that come down from the underside of the body. The bottom of this support leg seems to be a stable foot, not a wheel. I’m not sure if a little wheel can be fitted onto the leg, but if so it’s still just for maneuvering it around the lot, not driving out on the highway.

  3. Depending on where you live, you may see double or even triple trailer rigs on the highway.

  4. Thanks! I knew the other phrase for the vehicles you see on the street is ‘tractor-trailer’, but I never knew the ‘semi’ referred only to the trailer.

  5. At antique truck shows I have seen a short 1940s semi-trailer that had “landing gear” wheels that could steer via a long removable drawbar so the trailer could presumably be moved around the terminal. The landing gear also had mechanical linkage so that as the tractor coupled with the trailer the landing gear automatically retracted.

    And FWIW, double or triple trailer combos support the front end of the towed trailer(s) with either single or tandem-axled “converter dollies”.

    Oddly enough I’ve heard “semi-trailer” pronounced mostly with sort of a long-e sound for the second syllable of “semi”, but more often do I hear “semi” (by itself as a term for tractor-trailer), pronounced with a long-i sound.

  6. Oh, and I meant to point out the elevator one reminded me of a comic (from The New Yorker,maybe?) Where two art museum patrons are enraptured by a one of the exhibit room’s thermostats.

    Similarly, windows in exhibition rooms should get their own title cards along with the artwork, I think. 🙂

  7. At least in the Midwest, the term “semi” is colloquially applied to the entire rig, with front part called a semi-tractor, and the rear part called a semi-trailer.

    It is interesting to note that the one truck we can see enough to make a determination, appears to be a simple truck and not a semi/tractor-trailer/big rig/18-wheeler/articulated lorry at all.

  8. At least in the Midwest, the term “semi” is colloquially applied to the entire rig, …

    Sure, I didn’t mean to be saying that “semi” applied only to the back part. But rather, getting at “What about a semi is ‘semi’, i.e. half?” . And it’s indeed something about the trailer, namely that it is only half a trailer — only half self-supported.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-trailer_truck and another couple of wikipedia articles are illuminating and fit well with what ja and others have been saying.

  9. Oddly enough I think I’ve heard truck tractors referred to as “semis” (pronounced with a long-i sound).

  10. I was midway through typing “A ‘doughner’? What the heck is a ‘doughner’?” but then realized it was a homonym of “donor.”

    Maybe they should have spelled it “doughnor” (ending in “-or”).

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