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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Corner Office: 1909

Corner Office: 1909

Toledo circa 1909. "Nicholas Building." The tallest in Ohio at the time of its construction, presiding over a lively array of ghostly pedestrians, and a phantom dog. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Downtown memories

The Nicholas Building was where my dad's office was, 1946 - 1958, in the corner at the right, floor 10. When his employer, Libbey Owens Ford Glass Co., built its new International Style (think Lever House), showcase headquarters, he and his host of colleagues moved the three blocks uptown to their new digs. Dad was in the Nicholas Building when Downtown Toledo was a vibrant and crowded place, with lots to see and do, fascinating to a 10-year old. Always an adventure!

Perspective

These are great photos, and it just occurred to me that the original ones were done with view cameras that allowed the photographer to manipulate the geometrical orientation between the plate and the lens so that the photo that was taken did not show the foreshortening due to perspective. Note that in the original photo, the edge of the building does not seem to lean back, and the windows get larger in the upper floors, while the opposite effect is apparent in the modern photo.

I have seen an explanation of how the originals were done, maybe in a museum somewhere, and it is fascinating to see the results.

For Sale

Another great old building in Toledo that's still there -- but vacant and up for sale.

Little Cadillac and Oldsmobile

You are probably familiar with how small Oldsmobiles used to be but Cadillacs were not much larger in their beginnings in 1903. That is a 1906 Cadillac runabout parked just behind the bicycle. Selling for $750 when new, it was a high quality and fairly inexpensive "every man's" car. Around the corner is a 1903 Curved Dash Olds, the first mass produced automobile in the US. Both had a single cylinder engine; the Cadillac's was 10 HP and the little Olds had all of 4.5 ponies to pull it along.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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