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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Help Is On the Way: 1915

Help Is On the Way: 1915

"Mine Rescuer" circa 1915. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

Rebreather

The guy appaears to be wearing what is known as a rebreather, possibly the same type that was manufactured by Draeger starting in 1907.

Basically the air that the rescue worker breathes out is recycled, with the carbon dioxide being chemically absorbed (usually by a proprietary formula) and the 75% or so of oxygen that the body doesn't use in each breath is then supplemented from the tanks on the worker's back. Draeger still makes devices based on the same principle although with a far more modern design. I do know that in the mines of Nova Scotia the rescue teams are known as "Draegermen."

The "leather knee contraptions" are needed since a lot of time these guys would be crawling over jagged rock. Rather incongruous with what appear to be street shoes but may be boots that lace up.

Knee chaps

My God I love those leather knee contraptions with those shoes. Incredibly "steampunk."

Straight out of ...

Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," right?

 
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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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