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About the Photos

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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Army Balloon: 1918

Army Balloon: 1918

Vicinity of Washington, D.C. Army balloon circa 1918-1921. View full size. Glass negative from the National Photo Company Collection.


Passive restraint

These 'Barrage Balloons' were a cheap coastal defense against enemy planes attempting to strafe or bomb the areas inland of them. Beside the many ropes attached to them, they carried a woven steel cable anchored to the ground. Running into a cable at speed would usually shred enemy aircraft. Getting them aloft required great quantities of hydrogen gas, usually produced by pouring sulphuric acid over iron filings, a method little changed since the civil war.

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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