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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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Now It Can Be Told: 1942

Now It Can Be Told: 1942

February 1942. Akron, Ohio. Another esoteric industrial process involving scary-looking thingamabobs essential to the war effort. Executive summary: Performing a painstakingly choreographed ballet of complicated tasks at precisely timed intervals, Joe Warworker here is doing his part to Speed Victory! View full size. 4x5 nitrate negative by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information.


Hydrostatic Testing of Oxygen Bottles

This looks like the setup to pressure test the oxygen bottles using water rather than a gas. Using a gas would create a bomb like effect if there was a defect present and the tank ruptured. Using water under pressure will do the same job but will not have the compressed and stored energy that a gas would have. You get a bang, a big crack and a spurt of water rather than a big bang that destroys the facilty and anyone in the way!!!

Still a practice used today for testing pressurized gas containers like Scuba tanks, oxygen bottles , propane cylinders etc.

These look like the "low" pressure bottles that were used for military aircraft - around 300 psi charge rather than the 1800 psi "high" pressure ones used today on aircraft. The reasoning was simple - a bullet or failure of a 300 psi bottle would cause much less damage than the same hit to a high pressure one. The ones I have seen were all painted a bright yellow - and I still have one somewhere in my parents stored junk out at the farm where we used it for a compressed air tank conected to a small air compressor.

Atomic Welding

I'd guess "atomic [sic.] welding machine" should be "automatic welding machine" in this caption.

[Atomic welding is correct. Short for atomic hydrogen welding. - Dave]

Coded Chemicals

When I went to work at the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Tennessee in the mid-sixties, some of the old timers were still referring to common compressed gases by their wartime code names. We still had a section in the plant called "Coded Chemicals."

In The Movie Adaptation...

...He would be played by William Bendix.

Is that a technical term?

"Scary looking thingamabobs"? LOL! Now I've just got to know what they really are. Fuel cylinders perhaps?

[Aviation oxygen tanks. - 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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