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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Whee: 1930

Whee: 1930

Wellington, New Zealand. "Woman using a vacuum cleaner in a hallway, photographed early 1930s by Gordon Burt." Sign on the landing: "NOW is the opportunity to be quit of the DRUDGERY of housework." View full size.

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I hate to break it to them

but we haven't "quit the drudgery of housework", even 80+ years later...

The Sign

Can anyone figure out what the sign on the stairs says?

[It could be in the caption. -tterrace]

NOT hoovering in NZ

In reply to bobzyerunkl, sorry but New Zealanders do NOT slavishly follow British terminology. If you were to ask someone here in NZ to hoover the carpet, they would understand but the usual term throughout the country is "vacuum". I believe "hoovering" never caught on as I don't recall my mother or grandmother (1899-1973) ever using the word. In modern NZ parlance, the lady in the photo is vacuuming the carpet.

Another example: trucks are referred to as lorries in the UK, but "lorry" is never used in NZ and "truck" enjoys universal useage. If you come to NZ and start using "hoover" and "lorry", you will instantly be taken for an Englishman.

Bagged beast

The unfortunate animal skin on the floor looks like it was once a leopard; possibly an African or Persian leopard.

If Kiwis follow the example of the Brits

This is known as "hoovering".

That rug

Can anyone tell us what kind of beast is lying flat on the floor?

Very clever

Very clever use of the Shorpy watermark!

Lower right hand corner

Love what you did with "SHORPY".


Cute move with the Shorpy logo. Is this the first time you've done something like that?


You should use better adhesive on your logo.

Nice Graphics!

I like the way the "SHORPY" logo seems to be getting sucked up into the vacuum cleaner; a very sharp use of imagery...

BTW - any guesses about what type of poor animal has been made into a floor rug?

Strong suction

To acknowledge the vacuum's effect on Shorpy. Nice touch.


Been viewing this site for a long time now, Very impressed with the Images. Today I noticed this image used the VACUUM play with the SHORPY logo - Great play.

Vacuum cleaner, or secret weapon?

Superman vs the Mole Men

Ray gun

"To be quit"?

An old New Zealander form of English grammar?

[A largely archaic use of "quit" as a predicate adjective. You'll find it in Shakespeare and the King James Bible, for example, as well as in more formal 19th-century British English. -tterrace]

Great exercise for the buns

Looks like Leia has been hittin' the pasta.

Princess Leia

Why doesn't she get her Droids to do that?

SHORPY OLD 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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