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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

Big 4 Candy: 1926

Big 4 Candy: 1926

1926. "Semmes Motor Co., Schrafft's truck." A Dodge truck in Big 4 Candy livery at 608 E Street N.W., Washington. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

Brick Bonds

This side of the Atlantic, this pattern is usually referred to as "Common Bond" or "American Bond." The vast majority of 1800s brick buildings in Washington (including my house) use this bond.

What's in a name?

As a retired graphic designer in corporate marketing, I am always intrigued by trade names and visual treatments. The name is spelled out on the truck - but with a numeral 4 logo treatment for the text to wrap around - yet the sign over the entrance only employs the numeral (definitely not a space issue there). Being a wholesaler, the name has no need to appeal to the consumer, but does it refer to the number of owners, categories of confections, or is it merely arcane? The sign painter knew a thing or two about compressing (condensing) fonts to fit the space and enhance the flow (note "wholesale" as opposed to "confectioners"); this was a common period design feature that began in Victorian graphics but was soon to disappear from the scene as advertising typography became more austere as images began to carry the message between the great wars.

Nice hanging gate to the alley/courtyard -- and no using both entrances at the same time! The fence to the right uses whatever board width came to hand.

Scottish Bond Alert!

The brick laying pattern is Scottish Bond: five layers of "stretchers" - or, long brick and one layer of "header" - or, the end of the brick. I would never have known about this if I had never browsed the archives here. Who says that this site isn't educational? For the remainder of my life I'll be noticing brick patterns - something I have never given a moments thought to before. A tip 'o' the hat to the commenter who first brought this to my attention in a photograph taken behind a Civil War hospital.

 
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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