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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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You Better Watch Out: 1941

You Better Watch Out: 1941

A Christmas window display in 1941 or 1942, photographer unknown. 35mm Kodachrome transparency, Farm Security Administration. View full size.


Re: Lead

Lead can be pretty shiny too, and I also remember balling up those icicles and firing them at my siblings. Tin or aluminum ain't that heavy or soft.

Red Ryder

I think he might be wondering where his Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time is.

Great photo, brings back many memories!


Back in the late 1950's in the Germantown area of Philadelphia there was a price war on icicles just before Christmas. The two businesses involved were Comer Paper (6241 Germantown Ave) and Doc's drugstore half a block south. Doc's is long gone but Comer is still in business. I think they usually had a price war on icicles (which I believe was motivated by just wanting to have a little fun) but sometime around 1959 they got carried away. Doc's advertised icicles at 15 cents. Comers countered with 12 cents, Doc's dropped to 9 cents, etc. over 2 or 3 days. Final prices were in the 1 cent range.


I think they were thin strips of tin, or possibly aluminium, both of which can be a nice shiny white, whereas lead is pretty dull and gray. I remember them, too.

Good Old Lead Poisoning

I remember the "icicles" back then being made of lead or something, unlike the wimpy mylar of today. If you put too many on a weak branch, it might break.
When we took the tree down on New Year's Day, they'd be stuck in the carpet. My brothers and I used to race to collect the strands. We'd squeeze them into a tight, and surprisingly heavy lead ball, which we would then toss at each other while my dad yelled at us to stop. Ah, the memories...

Doubl-glo icicles

Those Doubl-Glo Icicles cost 38 bucks a box nowadays!

[Amazing. I've always been partial to the old-style Christmas decorations myself. Vintage Christmas cards too. eBay is a great help. - Dave]

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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