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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Serve in Silence: 1942

Serve in Silence: 1942

December 1942. A winter afternoon in the North Proviso yardmaster's office, Chicago & North Western Railroad. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. Click here for a closeup of the poster on the wall.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Who Needs 3D?

This photo draws me in. The feelings I get every time I look at it are visceral. You feel the heat radiating from the coal stove. You can smell The scent of stale cigar and pipe smoke and coal hang in the air. You can hear the hollow scrape of chairs across the floor and the quiet echo of the regulator clock punctuated by the rumble of a slow freight passing by...

Anyone else notice the clasped hands resting on a blue leg, just behind and to the left of the stove? Or the melted snow about the feet of the gent sitting on the padded bench by the wall.

A marvelous glimpse into the past.


This is a beautiful, evocative photograph; one of the few color pictures posted here that really speak to me.

Chase & Sanborn

Chase & Sanborn have always been one company. In 1938 they began the "Chase & Sanborn Hour" initially with Mae West, and later with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and searching eBay (those people have everything!) reveals an 1898 ad for "Seal Brand Coffee" produced by the Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company.

The can on the stove

It's SANBORN coffee. Chase joined Sanborn later. - SGL

Coffee Can

Look in the coffee can on the looks like the yardmaster may be heating up a little toddy to warm where the stove can't.

Coffee can

Used to put an empty can full of water on top of the stove in winter to provide moisture. Houses are sealed up pretty tight these days, moisture tends to stay inside. In the old days things would dry up pretty good indoors once it got cold out side. Hence the can on the stove.

Old timers used to rely on frost to seal up air leaks to the outside from the inside. Moist air would provide a faster seal. It would also provide a "warmer" heat.

It was the first thing that appeared on top of my wood burner when I first set it up. An old neighbour grabbed a Folgers tin and plopped it, half full of water, onto my hot stove. "To keep the house from drying up, and to make it warmer."

Yardmaster's shoes

By the looks on the yardmasters shoes (a great shine) he must not have gotten out in the yard a lot. Love the pix.

Love the…

…coffee in the tin on top of the stove. Looks like it would be Chase & Sanborn brand.


Why can't they bring Kodachrome back?...please?!?!

[Kodachrome is still around, at least in the 35mm size. - Dave]

Serve in Silence!


When you hear something pertaining to the war or ANY of its phases from someone supposedly "in the know", they should be severely reprimanded for divulging information regardless of its value, importance or authenticity. And don't repeat it!

"The Axis Rats" are ever on the alert, even though you are among friends you can be overheard.

The very next time some BIG MOUTH spouts about how things are going on all fronts, shut him up! If he can run this war let him offer his services to our GOVERNMENT.

They'll give him a GUN.

SHORPY HISTORICAL 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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