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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2017 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Marcella and Elibia: 1943

Marcella and Elibia: 1943

Women employed as roundhouse wipers having lunch, Chicago & North Western Railroad, Clinton, Iowa. Marcella Hart is at left, Mrs. Elibia Siematter at right. April 1943. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano.


Interesting lunchpails

I have never seen this type of lunchpail before. It looks like some WW II item that was created for consumer usage to save metal for the war industry.

America Fights a War

This picture powerfully shows the way everyday Americans fought a War to Win it. Ten years earlier these ladies most certainly did not work down at the shop. Every family was somehow touched by the War effort. A sharp contrast to today's wars intimately touch maybe one in ten families. The rest have yellow ribbons and "Support the Troops" bumper stickers as their sacrifice.

Wonderful character study

This is another wonderful shot of railroaders. There is lots of character and determination in those faces - wives, mothers, grandmothers. They look relaxed but "all business" at the same time. Patriotism in 1943 wasn't just a popular phrase back then - you lived it!

Locomotive Wiper

"a Wiper's job was to pack the internal moving parts of a steam locomotive with wads of greasy gunk."

Not exactly. An engine wiper's primary job was to "wipe down" the locomotive. Coal-burning locomotives were obviously dirty, and the soot settled on the boiler jacketing and cab roof. A wiper cotton waste (basically stringy offal from textile production) dipped in a light oil to remove the soot. S/he also swept cinders off the "running boards" (the walkways alongside the boiler) and the tender deck, and cleaned the running gear motion.


Note that the majority of the lunch pails are wartime non-metallic. Also note the mason jars to carry a beverage and the wax paper used to wrap food.

This is real "Rosie the

This is real "Rosie the Riveter" stuff! Marcella - what a gal!

Wiper's Job

According to a Google search: a Wiper's job was to pack the internal moving parts of a steam locomotive with wads of greasy gunk. Sounds like that would make for a long day in the roundhouse.

Thermos Bottles

Interesting that two of them have matching Thermos bottles . . . blue with red stripes. Wonder what they had in them, something cold or hot?

Painted nails!

I love the lady with the red bandana has her nails painted!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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