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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 • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

Office Girls: 1921

Office Girls: 1921

December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." And what could be an exhibit for the Museum of Antique Office Equipment. Experts please weigh in. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Imagine the Sound of Six

As a computer operator in the late 60's I ran jobs that produced punched paper tape spools that were used as input to the six Addressograph machines at the service bureau where I worked.
Imagine a room containing six of those Addressographs running non-stop for an eight hour shift. The din!!
Those Addressograph machines punched out raised print credit cards that were run through the manual credit card imprinters in department stores of the day.

Sitting

in those HARD wooden chairs 8 or more hours a day must have been brutal....

Don't put it on your résumé!

I typed Graphotype plates (both metal and plastic) for Addressograph Multigraph in Minneapolis during the summers of 1969 and 1970. It was a boring job and, due to the vibration of typing on metal, it actually slowed my typing speed down a bit. I quickly realized (uninspired by the full time fellow-workers around me) that this was something I absolutely did NOT want to do for the rest of my life. Fortunately it was just a high school summer job and I was relieved to leave it behind and head to college in the fall of '70.

Wouldn't you know it though - my first week on campus I got a call from the school's alumni office. The admin building had burned to the ground the previous year and they were reconstructing their alumni membership lists from the sooty remains of the addressograph plates which had (sort of) survived the fire.

Unfortunately somebody had noticed that I had "Graphotype Typist" on my college application/résumé and the bells rang. They corralled me. My first work-grant "scholarship" at college was (using a graphoptype machine they had shipped down from my old workplace) retyping every dang one of those charred plates.

And a Graphotype to boot!

Yes, this is Addressograph/Multigraph equipment -- we ran it into the sixties. The filing cabinets contain the small metal plates used to address envelopes and such. The lady nearest is printing from the metal plates through a cloth ribbon on some roll of paper material. The two seated ladies farthest from us are operating Graphotypes -- these were the machines that stamped the letters and numbers onto the small metal plates. There are still a few of these machines around though they are mostly used to make dog tags for military wannabes.

Oh, goody!!! More work!

The expression on the face of the young lady seated nearest the window says it all.

Priceless Look

The clock on the wall says 20 past 4 and the lady seated on the far right is looking at the next big batch of work before she can leave.

The hair pin

Takes the prize, but the watch, dress and silk stockings are close runners up! The bobbed hair is right in style, too! "Thoroughly Modern Millie" even if she was from 1922!

A monthly mailing

I'm thinking Addressograph/Multigraph. The operator in the middle looks like she might be creating the little metal plates -- a lot like dog tags, really -- that the Addressograph system used for high-speed imprint onto labels and envelopes. And the finished plates would fit perfectly in those little drawers in the left-hand cabinet. An after school job in a church rectory taught me way too much about that system.

 
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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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