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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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Carnegie Steel: 1905

Carnegie Steel: 1905

Circa 1905. "Carnegie Steel Plant, Homestead, Pennsylvania." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Immigrant experience

Wow!, what a photo. My grandfather came to America from Croatia, alone, age 18, in 1914. His first job was unloading steel scrap from gondola train cars, by hand, bound for the furnaces in Pittsburgh. Later he moved up to a job that my father said he would come home from work and his shirt would be burned with little holes from splattering hot metal. The good ol' days.

Parton, not Dickens

"There is one evening scene in Pittsburgh which no visitor should miss. Owing to the abruptness of the hill behind the town, there is a street along the edge of the bluff, from which you can look directly down upon the part of the city which lies low, near the level of the rivers. On the evening of this dark day, we were conducted to the edge of the abyss, and looked over the iron railing upon the most striking spectacle we ever beheld ... It is an unprofitable business, view-hunting; but if any one would enjoy a spectacle as striking as Niagara, he may do so by simply walking up a long hill to Cliff Street in Pittsburgh, and looking over into — hell with the lid taken off."

― James Parton, (The Atlantic Monthly. January, 1868)

The Waterfront

This is now a sizable outdoor walk-around mall called The Waterfront with plenty of nice shops, restaurants and distractions.

A different time

Back when smoke showed progress, jobs, and prosperity.


This is an area I know as Munnhall, Pa. My grandfather worked for Jones and Laughlin Steel for 45 years. His profession for the company was River Boat Engineer; the old paddle wheel tugs. He retired in 1956.

I have a great photo of his boat, the VULCAN, racing other Paddle Wheel tugs on the Monongahela around the 1920's. From the looks of the photo's, these races seemed fairly popular, the banks of the river show onlookers lined for miles to watch the event.

Hell with the lid off

That's how Dickens recorded his impression of Pittsburgh. This scene brought the phrase to mind.

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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