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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Enormous Radio Factory: 1925

The Enormous Radio Factory: 1925

The Atwater Kent radio factory in Philadelphia circa 1925. 8x10 glass negative, National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

AK Assembly

The women are making air-core inductors, basically a big roll of copper wire. Still used in electronics.

Factory work

Factory workers seem to get themselves into a routine and they work and talk to each other. I notice that most of these women do not appear to be unhappy. I worked in a electronics factory (maintenance supervisor) and my wife worked on the line. The women had a good time together and could do their jobs without thinking too much about it.They talked and passed the time with gossip etc. I still work in a factory that makes automotive parts and the workers are much the same even today. Factory work is not so bad and it generally pays a little better than retail.

What's on the Schedule?

Can anyone zoom in and see what that sign says? I'd like to see what they had planned for the day's quota!

[The goal seems to have been 440 (radios?) an hour. - Dave]

They do exist

OMG. A plus-sized woman! I don't know where some people get the notion that everyone was thin back in those days. Sure obesity might not have been as rampant, but there have always been fat people.

The Enormous Radio



While my wife gripes a lot about her job (runs a museum), these kind of photos really make me appreciate my comparatively cushy job (software developer). The Hine photos even more so.

I just can’t imagine doing this kind of work all day every day.

Enormous Is Right

That is one big room, and it engenders a lot of questions. I haven't got the patience to do it, but maybe someone can attempt to count the number of people in there. Who can estimate the square footage and the height? What were the noise levels? There doesn't appear to be any heavy machinery. Were the workers allowed to talk to each other? Probably not. Is there any written or spoken history of this place?

[Plenty of history if you Google Atwater Kent factory. The company's 32-acre plant at 5000 Wissahickon Avenue in North Philadelphia was sold to Philco in 1936. One of its gigantic buildings still stands (below). - Dave]

The Enormous Radio

Good title. And one of my favorite short stories.

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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