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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Boy Scout Fire Drill: 1916

Boy Scout Fire Drill: 1916

Washington, D.C., circa 1916. "Boy Scouts fire drill." Hey Chief, can I ring the bell? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Fire Engine #

Can you read the Engine # on the hood?

[Looks like 20. - tterrace]

Oh Wow!

The man on the left with the plaid newsboy hat is a dead ringer for Steve Carell from The Office!

[Uncanny. - Dave]

Safety Last

Reminds me of letting the Cub Scouts in my son's pack ride a few blocks (illegally in California) in the back of a pickup truck coming back from a long walk doing a food drive. They were all in the bed safely sitting, well behaved, and thought it was the greatest fun they had all month. Gotta have some old-timey fun once in awhile.

Each boy seems to be thinking:

"Yeah, ladies. I'm the manliest man in Mantown, D.C."

Not just a utility vehicle

The style and ornament lavished on a fire truck at this time is directly related to its importance to the community, the investment it represents, the pride it inspired, and surely the excitement it generated. Its steam predecessors were even more incredible - industrial goods as high art, as were the early railroad engines up into the 1860s. The ornament quickly fell away on the railroad (except perhaps in pullman and dining car interiors) as brute speed, pulling strength and efficiency became the focus of a mammoth business enterprise, more exciting for its awesome power than for its style. Fire engines have somehow never lost their hold on the imagination or their excitement, or surprisingly, their great style. While they are in service they are polished and more enshrined than garaged. I would put this old beauty in my garage - if I had one big enough!

Uh-Oh

How'd that kid at the top with the sweater-jacket get in there? He looks a little worried.

Goggle Boy

Have we seen that boy with the goggles before? Now I'll have to scroll back through all 500 pages of Shorpy photos!

Safety First!

This crew hopes to make up in numbers what it lacks in equipment, but there will be some attrition if they take any corners at high speed. Notice the kid hanging off of the kid hanging off of the back end.

ALF

Beautiful old American LaFrance.

 
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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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