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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 • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Live Third Rail: 1910

Live Third Rail: 1910

Detroit circa 1910. "Michigan Central R.R. tunnel." Another in a series of views of the approach to the train tunnel under the Detroit River. Please note: LIVE THIRD RAIL, DO NOT TOUCH. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

 

Snake Eyes

I'm thinking of some fellow holding up a convenience store; the clerk pulls out a double barreled shotgun, and this is what the robber sees.

Lobster, lettuce

and everything in between.

Tunnel locomotives

It would be nice to have a large format photo of one of the period engines on Shorpy. Most of the ones I've found are kinda fuzzy and don't do justice to the picture of the tunnel.

[Click to enlarge. - Dave]

Street Lamp

I want this street lamp in my driveway! I have scoured the internet in search of appealing exterior lighting, and haven't found anything nearly as interesting as this one. I don't know what it is about it, it's just perfect.

[It's a carbon-arc fixture on a "bishop's crook" standard. - Dave]

Under-Running Third Rail

This is the "Under-Running" type of third rail, where the pickup shoes on the locomotive run on the bottom of the rail. The rail is sort of hanging from C-shaped insulated supports. The insulators are under tension.

This is superior to the common "Over-Running" third rail because the top and both sides of the electrified rail can be protected against accidental contact. In this photo, one can see that the top and both sides of the rail are covered in wooden sheathing. (In the more common Over-Running 3rd rail, only the back side and the top of the rail can be guarded; the track side must remain exposed.)

This is the type of 3rd rail used in other New York Central System electrification projects under the control of VP of Engineering William J. Wilgus. This type of 3rd rail is used in Grand Central Terminal and on all line approaching it. (The former New Haven transitions to overhead wire, but operated within NY City limits on the 3rd rail.)

All of this sort of third rail in the NYC /Westchester area has been changed from wooden sheathing to fiberglass sheathing, which is safer because it cannot absorb water.

Now, if Shorpy could only find a photo of the electric locomotives which traversed this tunnel.

[Electro-Motive. -tterrace]

Do not touch?

That sign is an understatement. I believe those rails carried 750 volts DC.

 
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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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