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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Gorham: The Sequel

Gorham: The Sequel

Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1906. "Gorham Manufacturing Co." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Track Gang

The fellow in the foreground is more likely a member of a track gang. The other two members are further ahead on the opposite track. He was known as a track walker. His job was to walk along the tracks and inspect them. He is carrying a spiking sledgehammer. This had a sledge head on one side and a spike pulling claw on the other. As he walks along, if he sees a spike lifting up from the tie plate. He uses the sledge to tap it back down. A hobo wouldn't risk walking down the center of the gauge with railroad employees nearby.

My Gosh!

Hobo complete with bindle!

Together again

The panorama.

To tell a cautionary tale

Does everybody know what the contraption hanging over the middle track is? It was known as a "telltale," and would warn any trainman walking on top of a train from front to rear that a bridge or other low clearance point was ahead, and coming up behind them. Upon being brushed by the hanging ropes, an employee would immediately lie down until it was safe to stand up again.

 
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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