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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Mike Evans: 1943

Mike Evans: 1943

Chicago, April 1943. "Mike Evans, a welder, at the rip tracks of the Proviso Yard, Chicago & North Western R.R." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

RIP II

Rip also = Repair, Inspect and Paint.

John Henry was a steel-drivin' man...

This photo reminds me of the song noted, due to the rough and ready character personified. The legend (although some believe it was based on fact) was that John Henry was a tall, strong, iron-willed, hard-working man who gave his "all" to building the railroads and boring through mountains to build the rail tunnels in West Virginia. When steam powered drills started being used, he challenged the steam drill to a race in building tunnels through rock. He DID win the race but died soon after from sheer exhaustion, prematurely ending his life by his superhuman effort. Good luck in trying to get this song out of your head, I've been hearing it since yesterday. I find Shorpys to be like Christmas, with new, happy surprises every day...thank you Shorpy.

The tank is looking shabby

No paint left on the tank. You don't see that anymore. But we still use helium cylinders that were made in 1943 in my radio astronomy work.

It's Willem Dafoe!

...or his grandfather.

Love this guy!

Shorpy has provided us with such great pictorial evidence to chronicle the romanticism (real or imagined) of the rails. Photos like this are what make me almost enjoy waking up and heading out to my railroad job each day!

RIP

Rip = Repair In Place -- A yard track where light repairs could be made. Classic Delano at his best!

 
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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