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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Heavy Metal: 1920

Heavy Metal: 1920

Circa 1920. "Stove. Standard Engraving Co." Continuing the Shorpy Cavalcade of Iron Age Kitchen Equipment. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

Steam Power

One of the Mythbusters shows looked at the risk of exploding water heaters. By disabling the safety valve, they got dramatic explosions, with the internal tank flying hundreds of feet in the air. Very impressive in ultra slow motion, it motivated me to (safely) flush my water heater and check the functioning of the relief valve.

Scott Gas Range

"It Uses all the Heat in the Gas"
"It Stores Hot Water While it Cooks"


Washington Post Jun 12, 1957

J.G. Scott, Inventor of Appliances

J. George Scott, 82, an inventor who had obtained his last patent in April on a three-temperature control refrigerator, died Monday in Hahnemann Hospital, of a heart attack.

Mr. Scott, who was an engraver at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from 1906 to 1913 and from 1941 to 1945, invented the smooth-top gas range while he was president of the Scott Gas Appliance Co. here in the early 1920s.

A District native and lifelong resident, he also invented an electric fan for summer and winter which blows hot and cold air. Another invention was the Scott "Dry-I-Cer," a picnic box which keeps food and drinks cold with dry ice. His dry ice pie container was introduced in Atlantic City, N.J. in 1950. ...

Safety Valve

There would be a safety valve in this professional setup. The need for safety valves on hot water and steam producing arrangements was well known as far back as the 18th century. I have a 1922 Sylphon Heating Specialties catalog from the Fulton Co., and the range of valves, regulators, and thermostats in 1922 was quite staggering. The catalog runs to 144 pages.

Unsafe At Any Speed

When I moved into my present home 40 years ago, a stone lined hot water tank was heated by thermo-siphon action from a Lynn kerosene burner in the Union Crawford kitchen range. After a night of water heating, the temperature/pressure relief valve would sometimes blow off steam to the cellar. I don't see a safety valve in this setup.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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