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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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Soda Stop: 1908

Soda Stop: 1908

Circa 1908. "Seeing Chicago. Auto at Monroe Street near State." Our second glimpse of these Windy City tourists. Photo by Hans Behm. View full size.


Interesting class contrast.

I could not help noticing the well-fed, well dressed boy sitting in the back of the tourist car while behind him is a boy about the same age working as a messenger. It is a reminder of the extreme contrasts of that age.

1910 Chicago City Directory

Here are the first two entries under Confectioners in the 1910 Chicago City Directory.

Rapid Model D

This is a circa 1906-08 Rapid Model D 132, 12-Passenger Car, as made by the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan. It cost $1,800 and was less luxurious and passenger friendly than their Model D 170, 12 Passenger Pullman, which cost $700 more.

The 132 Car weighed 3,050 pounds and was powered by a 22-24 hp, horizontal two cylinder water-cooled engine mounted in the center of the frame, just under the floor. It had two speeds forward and one reverse, feeding the power through a jackshaft and Brown - Lipe differential, and on to the double side chain drive. The solid rubber tires were 32 by 3 inch and the wheels rode on Timkin bearings front and rear. The wheelbase was 90 inches, and standard equipment included two side lights, a searchlight (the socket for which can be seen at the top of the dash), tail light, horn, and a full set of tools.

Other Model D offerings included 16, 20 and 25-passenger vehicles, as well as delivery vans and one-and-a-half ton trucks.

Started in 1902 by the Grabowsky brothers, the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was taken over by General Motors a year after the picture above was taken. They turned Rapid into the GMC Truck division in 1912.

Here's an ad from 1908 for the more expensive Pullman:

Rapid Pullman

Bumpy ride

Solid rubber tires on cobblestone streets. Hope the old people held their mouths closed , or risk losing their teeth to the rattling.

I scream

Can just imagine hot sundaes in here.


Wow, they really went crazy with the drop shadow on the signs above the awning.

Oh wait, that's a real drop shadow and I bet it moves as the day progresses too.

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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