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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Product Placement: 1923

Product Placement: 1923

Washington, 1923. "Pillette of Detroit with Lincoln." Detroit Tigers pitcher Herman Polycarp Pillette. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

 

The whitewalls

I must say I'm a little surprised to see whitewalls as far back as 1923. What is more surprising is that they appear to be painted on, rather than molded into the tire as in later styles. This was one classy set of wheels in 1923.

[The earliest tires were all whitewalls. It's black tires that came later. - Dave]

Old Folks Pillette

Interesting that the Lincoln apparently needed separate license plates for DC and for Maryland back in those days. Pillette's uniform is definitely a "travelling gray." "Old Folks" was a nickname applied to a lot of players in their '30's, either by their teammates, fellow players, fans and the sportswriters of the time. There were a host of great nicknames back then: "Big Train", "Old Hoss", "Schoolboy", "Rube", "Big Nose", "Heinie", "Dutch", "Preacher", "Smoky Joe," "Irish Bob", "Rabbit", and later "Pee-Wee," "Peanuts", "Skeeter," "Slats", "Country", "Harry the Hat", "Harry the Cat", "Spud", "Scooter", "Lippie Leo", "Duke", etc.

Big Numbers

The tags are intriguing. The Maryland plate has six digits. Were they thinking of the future or were sales that strong?

And the black tag without a state. Does it indicate a doctor (possibly "DO," osteopath)? I know some states used to use "MD" in tags to indicate doctors but that practice was stopped several dozens of years ago because of liability issues.

[That's D.C. -- District of Columbia. - Dave]

Home or Away

I'm guessing 'Away' because that car has Maryland plates.

[Another clue would be where it says this is in Washington. - Dave]

"Old Folks"

Herman "Old Folks" Pillette had a brief major league career spanning just four seasons. His best year was in 1922 with the Tigers, where he went 19-12 with a 2.85 ERA. He died in 1960 at the age of 63.

 
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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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