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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Girls' Night Out: 1941

Girls' Night Out: 1941

December 1941. Washington, D.C. "Washington Hot Shoppe restaurant." Tableware, clothes, shoes -- discuss! Photo by John Collier. View full size.

 

Table top amazing

Glass like. Never seen that in a commercial restaurant.

The Car Out the Window

Guess away!

Not a pickup

I'm almost certain that what's seen through the window is the left rear of a sedan-type vehicle. If you take the full size image and fiddle with gamma some, you can see there's a wheel visible, and what seems to be the curving back of the car. This makes sense: the car would be parked nose-in to the curb outside. Interestingly, fiddling with the original tiff didn't help; Shorpy does a really great job of providing us with excellent web images.

Hall Pitcher

Yes, the pitcher is Hall China, East Liverpool, Ohio (my hometown). My great-grandmother was probably working there at the time it was made.

http://www.hallchina.com

Aligator shoes!

And, I am surprised nobody has identified the auto out the window. I can't even tell if it is a pickup truck or a car. My guess is a chevy PU.

The wristwatch

That wristwatch brings back memories. I had one with that same black cord bracelet but hadn't thought of it in decades. The wire glasses, too -- in the 1960s my mother refused to allow me to get wire rimmed glasses because they reminded her of the ones she had and hated in the 1940s. Thanks, Shorpy.

Mystery Box on wall

The box is a coinbox that would operate the Jukebox. Made by Monarch Tool & Manufacturing, still in business.

Speaker

I can't find an image, but I think the coin-operated box on the table was a speaker. Put in a nickel, and you get whatever is on the jukebox. I dimly remember the oldest diner in town had something like that. Dad wouldn't give me a nickel - told me to keep quiet and listen to the other tables!

Before rationing

Seeing that they are wearing silk stockings and judging by the date, rationing had not yet started. Sadly, this was the beginning of war.

Everybody's eating soup

except the young lady whose shoulder we're peeking over -- looks as though she's finished her chocolate malt already.

I Wonder If My Mother Ever Ate There

My mother worked and lived in DC at this point in time. She worked for the Civil Aeronautics Administration and would have been 23 years old. Probably about the same age as these young ladies.

Somewhere there's a tea pot missing its cozy

Not clear what that hat might be - a tasseled fez? It looks festive, anyway.

My Ten Cents Worth

There appears to be a coin operated something or other at the end of the table.
What is it?
Based on the image of a harp below the lock, my first guess would be a remote jukebox control. Except there doesn't seem to be any way to select a song.

Half Moons

Look at the beautiful manicure on the lady who is holding the empty glass.

The classic water pitcher

in this photo is from the Hall China Company of East Liverpool, Ohio. Founded in 1903, it's still in business joined with HLC (of Fiesta dinnerware fame). The water pitcher was made in several colors and is a collector's item along with many other Hall items. I believe new pitchers of this old style are still available. I have a few old ones around the house and, until recently, did not know they are now worth somewhat more than their original price to aficionados.

Vibrating table

I think that coin op box is for one of those vibrating tables.

Hall pitcher

By the shape, it looks like a Hall pitcher, now collectible.

Scuffed saddle shoes

I love to look at all the little details in historic photos -- like the scuffed saddle shoes, very cool, and I wonder what would happen if you put a coin in the box on the wall? Would a genie come out and grant you three wishes? Probably not, but what?

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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