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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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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Towels of Abe: 1922

The Towels of Abe: 1922

Washington, D.C., or vicinity circa 1922. "Abe Cohen." Our second photo so captioned. This time Abe's name can be seen on the equipment (more about him here). National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Not a wringer (I don't see any place for the water to go), I think its a large commercial ironer, or "Mangle" - it would have a steam heated padded roller in the center. I saw something similar in the flooded basement of the Tuller Hotel in Detroit - it was a sheet ironer. Any way to zoom in closer on the label?

Old Friend

I attended elementary through high school with Abe's grandson Moritz Cohen Jr. Very nice family. My father died when I was 12, about to finish elementary school, and Moritz's family essentially adopted me, including me in many of their family activities. They were Jewish and I was Eliscopal, but that didn't seem to matter to Moritz, his family and friends.

We visited Abe's commercial laundry business in Rosslyn one Saturday and washed our handkerchiefs in the commercial laundry equipment. As I recollect, this machine was a sort of wringer to squeeze out the initial water from the washed items.

I owe a lot to that family as they really helped me through a tough time in my early Junior High School years right after my father's death. I lost track of the family after Moritz Sr. died - I was in college then.


Somehow the clean butcher paper spread on the floor to set the stacks of towels on makes me suspicious. I wonder what it normally looks like? Now I remember why I always wash new towels before using them.

SHORPY HISTORICAL 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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