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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Radio Nut: 1924

Radio Nut: 1924

June 1924. Washington, D.C. "Radio nut -- this set with everything necessary for receiving music and speech by radio has been put into a coconut shell. It was built by H. Zamora, a native of Manila, Philippine Islands." Marketing suggests we call this the iNut. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

The message:

Submit, puny Earthlings! Resistance is futile.

Cast-off Cabinetry

There's a long-standing tradition among the real nuts of radio -- ham radio operators -- of building homebrew circuitry into odd, discarded containers. Tuna fish cans are a favorite, although things get a little funky once the resistors heat up... what's that smell? Margarine tubs, cereal boxes -- hams are nothing if not thrifty.

The cat's whisker

The gizmo that she's fondling is likely to be the cat's whisker, a metal pin that is poked onto a galena crystal to make a crude rectifier for demodulating the AM signal. It needs to be moved now and then to get good audio. At least it's something to do.

Banana phones?

I suppose their clocks were powered by potatoes.

Staring eyes

Looks as if she is receiving messages from outer space!

Prototype

Panasonic Panapet.

Gilligan's Island

The Professor did this practically every week.

 
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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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