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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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Money Machine: 1920

Money Machine: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Post Office money order machine." A sort of typewriter-cash register hybrid. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


Safety pin

Did anyone notice a safety pin in back of this fellow's tie? Dressing tricks have been used a very long time.

Other picture?

tterrace references another photo that shows a money order being fed into the machine; where do I go to see that photo?

[Library of Congress online catalog here. - tterrace]

Money Order Form

Here is the money order form he is working on.

[That's the C.O.D. mailing tag that had been attached to the parcel. It has the names and addresses for both sender and addressee along with the amount to be collected, here $5.91 + $.08 money order fee, total $5.99. The Post Office gets to keep the 8¢. - tterrace]


A little Photoshoppery shows us the details of the page in the ledger (click for larger image):

It's interesting that the amount appears numerically in two columns and spelled out in a third. I guess they *really* didn't want any misunderstandings or errors, especially with such high finance (that $8.77 to Hayes Wheel must have nearly broken the bank).

[Note also the figures in the sixth column: 05 & 08; those are the money order fees, which the recipient would have paid in addition to the amount due the sender. Apparently 5¢ for under $5 and 8¢ for over. - tterrace]

[UPDATE: the other shot taken at the time shows a money order being fed into the machine, so the spelled-out dollar amount is probably done to be imprinted on the order, and the same operation prints all the details on the ledger. - tterrace]

M.O. purpose

He's making out a money order for a delivered C.O.D. parcel; that's a USPOD C.O.D. mailing tag on the ledger.

Also, talk about shallow depth of focus; looks like about 8 inches, max.

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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