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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Do Not Touch: 1910

Do Not Touch: 1910

Christchurch, New Zealand, circa 1910. "Vacuum Cleaning Company machine at DIC store." Steffano Webb Photographic Studio glass negative. View full size.

 

Three Numbers

My family moved to a small southeast Nebraska town in the early 1960s to run a hotel. That town had its own municipal telephone company. Every phone in town had a 3-digit number - our hotel had two lines, 117 and 118. To place a call, one lifted the receiver and waited for the operator to inquire, "Number please". After receiving it, she'd connect you. I don't remember how they dealt with long distance calls - I was grade school age, and such calls were expensive and therefore, rare. In the later '60s, our local company was bought out by a regional one based in Lincoln, and we finally got dial service with 7-digit numbers. Oh, how people complained about the "loss of service"!

How modern!

We have a "one lunger" hit and miss oil engine running what I believe might be an air pump from the condenser of a steam turbine. Turbines were fairly new technology at this time. Very cool.

This Really Sucks

With a vacuum motor that big you wonder how much suction it put out. If I were the family poodle, I'd be scared.

Telephone contacts

1. A 3 digit telephone number? Wow ...
2. Interesting that they have 2 numbers, one for evening. Chief salesman's house number, for those after-dinner sales questions?

Steam punks

The kids hanging around the steam-powered vacuum cleaner must be steam punks. It's nice to finally be able to make sense of that term.

Just Missed It

That sale last week.

7:1

The lady in the background lost her head after seeing seven men so interested in a vacuum cleaner.

And I thought

our old Kirby Classic III was cumbersome!

Wow

Bet that sucks.

Proper name for that machine

I believe that, technically speaking, that unit is a "contraption."

And the carefully placed chocks under the wheels were an important safety requirement, because no one wants a contraption rolling around unchecked in a crowded urban environment.

That would be bad.

 
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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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