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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Airplane Mode: 1929

Airplane Mode: 1929

Dec. 5, 1929. Ignition interference from airplane engines on aircraft is largely a myth according to C. Francis Jenkins, Washington, D.C., inventor who has designed a radio receiving set which he says does not pick up noises from a flying power plant. In this photograph is shown Mr. Jenkins (right) and his laboratory assistant.

Video pioneer Francis Jenkins, seen here last week, and an anonymous protege who has a telegraph key strapped to his leg. By our reckoning this counts as early mobile texting. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Stinson Detroiter

According to newspaper accounts Jenkins was an experienced pilot and owned a Stinson Detroiter monoplane which he used for his experiments. I'm no expert but compared to other images of Stinson Detroiters on the web, this appears to be that plane.

C.F. Jenkins was also seen in previous Shorpy post Listening to Mars: 1924.

Ryan M2 ?

This model of the Ryan monoplane was the basis for the highly modified Spirit of St. Louis, designated model NYP, which stood for "New York to Paris".

Washington Airport

Near 14th St. Bridge, Arlington VA. The sign reads "Fly over Washington in Sister Ship to Spirit of St. Louis." That may well refer (loosely) to the plane pictured.

36 years later

I was a radio/radioteletype operator in the US Army serving in Germany. The only keys we had were the type that clipped to the thigh such as this one did - to this day, I do not believe I could use a telegraph key that is flat on a desk or table.

To all the guitarists out there

Take a look at the jack plug on the cord running to his headphones. It is the 1/4" plug that became the defacto standard for guitar cords. BTW, we called headphone "cans" in those days, but today, "cans" has an altogether different meaning.

Where was this taken?

Can anybody figure out where this was taken and what was written on the hanger? The fragment of the lettering visible on the hanger ("TON IN SISTER S" or perhaps "GTON IN SISTER S") is intriguing.

FAA Violation

Thrown off the plane for not turning the electronics off during takeoff/landing?

Key strapped to leg

That's the standard method of securing a key for use in the field absent a table or desk.

 
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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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