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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Muscle Shoals: 1942

Muscle Shoals: 1942

Furnace man at phosphate smelter, TVA chemical plant near Muscle Shoals, Alabama. June 1942. View full size. Photograph by Alfred Palmer.

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Alfred Palmer

This is one of many terrific photos by Palmer. He doesn't get enough respect. On the walls of my home office I have prints of five FSA-OWI photos. Four are by Palmer. His photos of work and industry are stunning.

What a photographer

It's remarkable that Alfred Palmer doesn't seem to get the same praise that his contemporaries receive. Maybe it's because his photographs always seem to be perfectly exposed, and perfectly posed. It is truly a shame, because his images are superlative.....

dangerous job

This reminds me of when I was young I worked in a foundry, they would melt pig iron in a furnace like this one, the man who operated the furnace was getting burned all day and also had to deal with the heat and always had to worry about a blow up, the iron after it was cast would stay "red hot" for a couple of days, actually glowed red the first day. thanks for the memory.


I love this photograph. There's something exciting about industry, something powerful and impressive about furnaces and giant steel pipes and their manifestation of the power of Man.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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