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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Vis-O-Matic: 1950

Vis-O-Matic: 1950

June 6, 1950. "Vis-O-Matic department store," a premonition of virtual retailing. One of at least 200 photographs taken by Bernard Hoffman at retail magnate Laurence Freiman's newfangled catalog store in Pembroke, Ontario. The cards were an index of merchandise on color slides viewed by customers on rear-projection screens. Life magazine image archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Another first?

Hey! Did they accidentally invent the scroll wheel?

Whatta Rolodex!

I've been a lurker here for a long time, so you don't know me. The wheel used to flip the Rolodex looks big enough to turn a boat! It must have been for show, because current Rolodexes use a much smaller knob.

[The junior-size Cardineer rotary index that she's using is quite a bit bigger than a Rolodex. - Dave]

Jaunty Chapeau

I imagine it must have taken tons of pins to keep that hat on her head. Could also be contributing to the expression of tooth-grit pleasantry.

Pembroke, Ont.

Pembroke is such a sleepy little town. With a lot of history. It's hard to imagine that it had a store like this back then.


She looks like she's been staring at the rear-projection screen a bit too long. Take a break, girlfriend.

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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