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About the Photos

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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Whirlpool: 1939

Whirlpool: 1939

January 1939. "Housewife boiling clothes -- Chicot Farms, Arkansas." Note the primitive nature of this washer -- it doesn't even have a "simmer" setting. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration. View full size.


Maybe the Maytag wringer's on the fritz

My maternal grandmother had a Maytag wringer, (originally gasoline-engined, but converted to electric). We spent a summer with her when I was six. Once when the Maytag blinked, we washed in her identical pot and wrung by hand. I remember adding "bluing" to the rinse to de-yellow the whites. She was a little more fashionable than this woman. But my paternal grandmother, who lived for some years in Arkansas, was not. I had to look twice to make sure this wasn't her. I can't say definitively not.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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