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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Call of Duty: 1922

Call of Duty: 1922

Washington, D.C., 1922. "Fire layout -- answering the fire bell." The start of an exciting new mini-series here on Shorpy. Harris & Ewing photo. View full size.

 

Hook the pole

You forgot, the one with the bow tie is the officer of the group, company. The official representative of the fire/city or insurance company. They "directed" the operations at the scene till relieved of duty by a senior manager.

Turnout gear

Notice the boots look to be made of leather as opposed to rubber. Leather is making a come back today as most calls are now medical calls as opposed to fire calls. The bunker pants appear to be of a jeans material as opposed to the nomesx used today .,I can't wait to see the rest of this series.

Strange goings on.

I can't figure out the double exposure effect of the window slits superimposed on the fireman's shirt, as well as the odd bulge in the window shade behind him. It also looks like someone parked their fresh cigar on a wooden window sill.

[The camera's shutter was open longer than the flash burst, so the sliver of bright light coming through the window registered on the film before or after the fireman was in the spot at which he was captured by the flash. -tterrace]

I was a fireman for a brief moment

when I was eleven years old. A couple of friends and I were passing the local firehouse in Brooklyn when, noticing the open overhead door and absence of the two fire trucks, we decided to go on an unguided tour of the building. Upon reaching the second-floor living quarters, a booming voice from an unseen presence yelled out, "What the hell are you doing in here?"

While my pals went the slower, stairway route to the street level, I chose the expedient of the fire pole, which was a few steps closer to me. I don't remember making ANY contact with the pole, but I was surprised to discover the automatic clamshell mechanism, opened by downward pressure on the pole, that was designed to prevent objects or personnel from falling through the floor.

Guess who was about halfway down the block before the two laggards even emerged from the building?

That firehouse was (is) the home of Engine 205/Ladder 118, which lost eight of its members on 9/11/01.

Way too much fun

This guy was having too much fun!

Overdressed

Why would one wear a white shirt and bow tie to a fire?

[Period photos often show fire department officers - chiefs, captains, battalion chiefs - in ties at fire scenes. Frequently in protective overclothes, but still in ties. -tterrace]

New mini series - oh no!

That must mean that the old card playing cuties of 1941 series is truly over. The ladies apparently exposed all there was to reveal. Then again, the firemen may be getting a 19 year head start to see what all the heat was about. Anything is possible in time travel.

Hook But Don't Touch!

Notice they have their arm hooked or wrapped around the pole. The other arm grabbing the first and by squeezing a braking effect can be achieved. The highly polished pole was never touched as the skin oils would snag the mandatory long sleeve shirts. A slow sprint to the pole, a slight jump and hook the pole causing a mild rotation while descending then squeeze to slow near the bottom.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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