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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

New Spring Ginghams: 1912

New Spring Ginghams: 1912

Detroit circa 1912. "Elliott, Taylor & Woolfenden, first floor." In Dry Goods: New Spring Ginghams and Fine Scotch Zephyrs, as well as a tempting array of Notions. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

More NCR

Here's an NCR ad from 1916 that includes the Electrical Credit System.

More On the National Electrical Credit System

Found these in an article from 1907.

Credit Charge Stamping Phone

Upon further review, I believe the piece of National equipment is a credit charge stamping phone. They were used by department store clerks to get approval from "credit specialists" in the back room for customers to charge their purchases.

I could not find another shot anywhere of a device exactly like those in the Shorpy photo, but I think that's what this is. This picture show a newer model. Here's a page about them.

[I've added a shot from the same page of a phone used in an earlier model, and it matches the ones attached to the devices in our photo. -tterrace]

Far afield

ETW built a nice building about 10 blocks NW of the main shopping district, and even offered free rides to their store. Ultimately, they couldn't compete with the mass of downtown shopping, and closed around WWI.

Too Early for Art Deco

I am in love with the art on the metal grates and column tops. I am tempted to call it art deco, but 1912 is too early for deco. It is not too early for craftsman, but I don't get the feeling the building is at all new. I am guessing late Victorian arts and crafts would be a correct ID for the style. Anybody have a clue when this building was built? (I, sniff, sniff, don't want to know when they tore it down.)

Zephyrs and Notions

Zephyr: any of various things of fine, light quality, as fabric, yarn, etc.; a lightweight worsted cloth.

Notions (yes, I've passed through department stores for decades and have never known what this really means): pins, cotton, ribbon, and similar wares used for sewing; in sewing and haberdashery, the collective term for a variety of small objects or accessories.

Strange Boxes

With some enlargement, it doesn't appear the boxes in question are labeled "National." Since each appears next to what looks like a telephone, they may be an early paging system.

[It does say National. The phone is mounted on the side of the device on a swivel arm. -tterrace]

I'll take some of that 15-cent gingham

I'd love to go back a century and spend a day in that department store. D'you suppose they take Visa?

Chain Store

Judging by the ceiling, I would say this was a chain store.

I can almost smell the perfume . . .

. . . on the counter. Those look like Guerlain bottles. This photo is truly a time machine, taking us back to a time when ladies made most of their families' and their own clothes, and shoppers sat down to take a close look at the goods . . . a time when life moved a lot slower.

Does Anybody Know?

What are those machines with National (as in National Cash Register) on them? I looked all over the web and couldn't find a picture of anything close. I don't think they are standard cash registers but they must be used for some kind of financial transactions.

Tea

Where can I sign up for the Tetley Tea Demonstration?

 
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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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