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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 • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

A Sign: 1941

A Sign: 1941

October 1941. Chillicothe, Ohio. "Jewelers sign." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

De-signs

Some of these signs were pretty cleverly designed. The garage sign below is one of my favorites. It sold for $34,500 at auction last year.

Cool sign, cool photo

I think John Vachon took by far the most interesting photographs of anyone from the FSA.

Little light bulbs

It must have been a major job keeping signs illuminated in the pre-neon days. Now even neon is passe -- being replaced by LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).

[Neon -- replaced ages ago by fluorescent backlight signage -- is actually quite chic these days. - Dave]

Yes, I never liked fluorescent back-lit signs, they are bland, boring. Neon was more colorful and can be animated. LEDs are more colorful and animateable yet- and can create infinite designs and even pictures.

The stuff that dreams are made of

Just the thing Spade or Marlowe would see from his office window.

Mis-spelling?

Null points for spelling - both you and the sign maker - Jeweller surely?

[In American English, "jeweler" has but one L. - Dave]

 
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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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