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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 • BRIDGE AT ARGENTEUIL, 1874

Cleanup on Aisle 3

Cleanup on Aisle 3

November 9, 1923. Firemen extinguishing a blaze at the Piggly Wiggly, location not specified. View full size. 4x5 glass negative, National Photo Co. Collection.

 

Clarence Saunders (1881-1953)

(The First Wal-Mart Idea)

The Piggly Wiggly

Clarence Saunders (1881-1953) is the father of self-service shopping. The son of a poor Virginia tobacco farmer, Saunders left home at 14 to clerk in a grocery store.

He moved to Memphis in 1904 to work as a salesman for a wholesale grocery. While calling on customers, Saunders saw that many stores were failing because they did not control costs and overhead.

Traditionally, shoppers brought in a list of the goods they wanted and gave it to a clerk who selected the items, packaged them, charged the order and had the bags delivered.

This was time consuming, inefficient, and expensive. Saunders developed a plan to correct these problems that revolutionized the way we shop. He designed a systematically arranged store that offered self service/cash and carry shopping. He believed that if he offered lower prices than his competitors, people would wait on themselves, pay cash and carry the bags home.

His store had a turnstile entry that forced customers to move in one direction and to pass all the items he offered. Impulse items like candy were stocked at the registers. After getting patent rights to his pricing and merchandising innovations, he opened his first store in Memphis.

http://www.memphisite.com/attractions/attractions4.html

Four Alarm Fire

Washington Post, Nov 10, 1923

2 Warehouse Fires Destroy
Property Valued at $188,000

Four Alarms for Each Blaze
Call Out Virtually All Apparatus of in City

Two spectacular warehouse fires within a few hours early yesterday caused a total damage of $188,000. Virtually every piece of fire-fighting apparatus in the city responded to the four alarms that were turned in for each fire.

The buildings destroyed were:
The warehouse of the John H. Wilkins Company Inc., wholesale grocers, at 523 Rhode Island avenue northwest: damage to stock, $100,000, and to building, $18,000.
The warehouse of Philip Levy & Co., furniture dealers, at 50 L street northwest. ...

Fire in the Wilkins company warehouse had gained considerably headway before it was discovered by Paul French and Alfred Lewis, watchmen, who sounded the alarm at 4:40 a.m. The entire structure was ablaze when the first companies arrived a few minutes later.

A brisk wind fanned both fires. The warehouse burned like huge tinder boxes. Large quantities of oils and soap helped the fire spread in the Wilkins warehouse. ...

Piggly Wiggly

They're still all over the place in SC.

Your caption is hilarious.

We don't have Piggly Wigglies here in West Texas, but I remember the one my family used to frequent in Virginia years ago. LOVE that silly name...

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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