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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 • FRENCH BICYCLE GODDESS, c. 1898

Moving Pictures: 1900

Moving Pictures: 1900

"1899 or 1902. Lackawanna photo car." Detroit Photographic's rolling studio-darkroom-showroom. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.

 

About that ballast

I suspect that this photo was made at a station. The smoothness of the dirt path along the tracks suggests this. It was desirable to keep ballast out of walkways, because plain dirt is safer to walk on. People often twist their ankles while walking on ballast. Also, it is VERY difficult, sometimes impossible, to pull those big baggage carts over ballast, especially when they're loaded down with baggage, mail, and express. Station personnel make their jobs much easier by keeping the surfaces over which they have to pull those things smooth. (I speak from experience.)

Coal

Ungraded coal of various sizes most likely in that tender: those gigantic chunks had to be hand-shoveled by the fireman into the firebox constantly. Possibly the one car consist was not as demanding fuelwise as a regular train of several cars. Nevertheless, it was hot as Hades labor during the summer, but brutally cold, in that open cab, in the winter season.

Ballast

The DL&W was a blue chip anthracite hauling carrier and extremely profitable. It prided itself on its physical plant, even down to the point of maintaining "razor" edge ballast along it main line tracks.

Morris and Essex Railroad

Apparently this car really belonged to the Morris and Essex Railroad, which was leased by the Lackawanna for roughly 80 years. Note the "M&E" to the far right of "Lackawanna."

Ballast

I wonder if the rocks were placed that way to prevent water from eroding the tracks. I've never seen a ballast arrangement quite like that.

The colors of nature

Those would be black, white, and gray, right?

[They were until DPC colorized their post cards and prints. -tterrace]

Posed rocks

No ordinary railroad ballast is that neat.

The future

What an interesting photo. I wonder if these people had the foresight of these photos being invaluable to future generations or was this just a business/hobby type venture ? Either way simply amazing !
Cheers.

Wonder if they slept there, too

From past Shorpy encounters, this is a famous railcar. With the ladies and child shown, I wonder if it also served as a rolling residence for the owners.

With the likely photo chemical fumes, it probably wouldn't have been conducive to living aboard, but it was a clever and modern way of doing business.

Mr. DPC

Looks like William Henry Jackson himself on the rear platform holding the camera.

 
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