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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 • KEEP CLEAN WPA POSTER, 1939

Bovine Lunarometer: 1920

Bovine Lunarometer: 1920

Circa 1920. "Agriculture Department." Cow jumps over moon: astrophysically impossible? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Well-bred Cow Jumper

What a Good Cow Can Do

The Department of Agriculture is trying to impress upon American farmers that fact that poorly bred cows - "scrubs," of inferior pedigree - are not worth their keep these days of high cost. They do not produced enough butterfat.

The record in this respect is held by Tilly Alcarto, a California cow of Holstein-Friesian breed, which produced 32,425 pounds of milk last year.

To illustrate the idea, experts of the dairy division constructed the toy shown in the accompanying picture. When a button is pushed the well-bred cow jumps over the moon (an electric disc); but the scrub cow does not.

Washington Post, Oct 31, 1920

[If only there were a YouTube video (silent, of course) of this thing in action. - Dave]

Your Tax Dollars in Action

And THIS cow cried wee, wee, wee, all the way home! So much for the popular theory that frivolous government-funded studies are a relatively recent phenomenon. This odd presentation does have great visual appeal, rather like the colorful and usually weird animated dioramas that used to be displayed in opticians' shop windows. It would be fun to know the educational spiel that accompanied this model.

 
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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