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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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L. Logan, Boilermaker: 1942

L. Logan, Boilermaker: 1942

December 1942. Melrose Park, Ill. "L. Logan, of West Chicago, boilermaker at the Proviso Yard roundhouse, Chicago & North Western R.R." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Firebox Door!

That's it! I was trying to figure out exactly where Mr. Logan was on the locomotive. Not many clues here but I figured the castellated nut above his head is the pivot point of a "Butterfly" firebox door on the boiler backhead. The angled pipe to the left was used to open and close the door manually and on most engines there was also a foot pedal to open the door automatically for "hand firing." You can see part of the flue sheet inside the firebox above his right ear. Jack took the picture from the cab floor.

If the hat fits.....

That is certainly a very well-worn and stained Fedora that Leroy is wearing.....probably his favourite work-hat.
I'll bet that it has seen a few years since it left the manufacturers.

Shift Shave

From the stubble on his face, I would guess this was well into a long shift. Mr. Logan looks like a gentleman who started his shifts with a clean shave.

Stay Bolt Inspection

This gentleman is likely conducting inspection or repair of stay bolts inside a radial stay fire box. He's crawling (or peeking) out of an open butterfly fire box door. He appears to have air lines under his left glove for tools. Stay bolts keep the boiler in perfect radius around the fire box and are hollow so that when tested under pressure they leak and water can be detected on close inspection. A leaking stay bolt must be ground out and replaced. A deafening and dirty job.


I think this is the finest exposure on the whole site, to date. Great composition and lighting. Delano's masterpiece, perhaps, and shows how amazing Kodachrome could be. (I used it exclusively, even for night shots with that slow 16 and 25 ASA, even if I had to sit for hours waiting for an exposure.)


I grew up in West Chicago, which was a fairly small town when that photo was taken, maybe 5000 people at most. Chances are good I crossed paths with him or more than likely his kids. He looks like a hard working good guy.

Buy him a beer!

I wouldn't mind in the least buying this man a drink and talking shop with him.

[I'd buy him a boilermaker. - Dave]

Leroy Logan

Based on my research, I am fairly confident that this is Leroy Logan, born circa 1889 in Illinois. He is found in the 1930 Census and was working for the railroad at the time.

Delano's work

could be the inspiriation for the super-realism artists. Delano creates with photography what those guys do with an airbrush.

Great Lighting

Another fantastic Jack Delano photo. The lighting really brings out the character in his face.

When I first saw the photo I thought I was looking at Henry Fonda.

Reminds me of my old tradesman

This bloke looks a lot like the first tradesman I was assigned to when I was an apprentice boilermaker. Happy memories!

Those spectacles

It seems as though his glasses might fit quite snug under those goggles.

I can smell the welding now.

You know Jack

Jack Delano is one of the great photographers who need not sign his work.
You know who took that photograph that just knocked you off your feet!
Whatta guy!

A fantastic portrait

But then again I find most of Jack Delano's work to be amazing. You can almost smell the oil, sweat and coal dust.


What a face!! He has not had an easy life. He looks weary.

Startling, lifelike!

Wow, it's like looking through a window directly into the past.

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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