SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:


Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Electro-Analyzer: 1942

Electro-Analyzer: 1942

Chicago, December 1942. "Apparatus used at the laboratory at the Chicago & North Western RR's 40th Street yards for analyzing solutions of metals used in locomotives and the railroad plant in general." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Colorful Solutions

This instrument would not raise too many eyebrows in a lab today, and the photo includes the mandatory beakers of solutions which every photographer asks us to prepare to add color to a shot. We still use the same orange wax pencils to write on glass, though not so much since they crumble a bit and get tracked all over the floor. I notice the large beaker on the shelf is labeled "mucilage." Most of us will remember that from school when it was the only glue we had.


When I look at this photo all I can see are two wide-eyed faces looking out at me.


Back then, the RRs used it to analyze water samples (coolant, boiler, etc.) to determine problems in their engines. Like many fleet operations today that send out oil samples for ananlysis, back in the day, flocks of chemists were on staff to study oil, fuel and water samples.

Looks like a milkshake machine.

Copper, lead and zinc added for flavor.

Ad for Sargent-Slomin Electrolytic Analyzers

The analyzers worked by electrolytically depositing metal on the grid electrode. The electrode was weighed before and after the analysis to determine the amount of metal in the solution. Different metals could be selectively deposited depending on the voltage applied.

The analyzer in the photo above is a precursor to the one in the ad.

(I'm a Ph.D. Chemist)

Old machine, new use

Now it's used for urinalysis drug testing. Looking for a different species of railroad plant.


Ohm's Law was a lot more important in those days.

Analyzing metal solutions - a likely story.

It's obviously an early attempt at an espresso machine.

Your choice

Decaf or regular.

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.