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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Wired: 1929

Wired: 1929

"Schneider electric store." C. Schneider's Sons in Washington, D.C., circa 1929. ("Give her an Electric Grill for Xmas.") Harris & Ewing glass neg. View full size.

 

Metal desk lamps

I inherited one of those and tried to use it but the metal gets hot enough to burn the skin. Which is why my mother did not use it very often but it sat on the desk for years.

Schneider Connection

Would love to connect with Susie Schneider who left the last comment. I'm a long lost Schneider relative that is developing a website dedicated to our ancestors.

www.schneidersofdc.com

It's under construction.

Jon M. Schneider

Frozen in time

This photo shows my grandfather Percy Christian Schneider in his store, which took its name from my great-great-grandfather Christian G. Schneider -- he began with a foundry that cast large items like bells, then moved into hardware. By 1929, C. Schneider's had become an outlet for the burgeoning appliance market.

Grandfather's assistant or clerk on the right is Miss Newman. My father, Donald Schneider, recognized his dad, Miss Newman and the store as soon as he saw the photograph. Thank you for preserving a little piece of my family's history.

On top of everything

That ceiling has to be (well, I suppose it does not HAVE to be) the most ornately designed ceiling I have ever seen. I think it is unattractive. I wonder if our presumed-to-be-business-friends-only couple tried to avoid looking up at it, so as not to dampen the magic of their cramped but oh so electric moments together.

Dustmop Has a Purpose

The dustmop in front isn't a mistake. It's there as a sales tool. The store owner used it to demonstrate that his electric machine worked better at picking up dirt than a regular dustmop. That's why the mop appears to be used. It's the old Fuller Brush sales demo--throw dirt on the carpet and then show how the vacuum picks it up more efficiently.

Hello Miss Newman

I had a phone call yesterday from a nice lady in Texas whose grandfather owned this store -- he's the man in the photo. Her father (who could be heard in the background exclaiming, "That's Dad!") identified the woman as one Miss Newman. He also recalled the pressed tin ceiling.

ABC and I

The washing machine is an ABC, which stands for Altofer Brothers Company. Henry Altofer, when he was a youth, built a crude washing machine for his mother to make washday chores easier for her. It proved to be the beginning of the ABC company which grew into a major appliance manufacturer. A few years ago the old abandoned factory was still standing in Peoria, Illinois.

The Altofer and Gudeman families were close friends for many years. Henry witnessed the last will and testament of my great-grandfather Fritz Gudeman 10 days before Fritz died in 1890. Also, Henry and my grandfather David married sisters; and in 1936 Henry bought Fritz's old home and farm, located one mile north of Roanoke, Illinois, from one of his sons.

Unplugged

The dustmop was obviously not meant to be in the photo. It isn't an electric appliance and has most certainly been used.

Bare Bulbs

I live in a house built in 1925, we have that exact same light fixture in the hallway. It throws out precious little light even without the bulb cover, which is probably why someone removed it and put it in the attic. Probably the same case here. For those who want to imagine, it's vaguely tulip shaped and made of white glass, you could find almost an exact replacement for it in any home improvement store today.

ABC washer

Good info on the ABC washer but this model would have been a gravity drain -- the spout around the top of the spinner moved toward the washtub to redirect the water for reuse or into a sink or laundry tray/tub to dispose of. The washtub had a hose that was lowered into a floor drain or bucket or a simple valve opened to drain the waste water out.

Make Mine Perky!

I, for one, would love to own a Perk-O-Toast.

Perc-o-Toaster

What do you know, the Perc-o-Toaster seems to do exactly what its name implies! Here are a couple of more detailed pictures:

http://toast2go.tripod.com/ToasterGallery-Ads12.html

I'm a Little ... What?

The appliance on the left -- Perc-O-Tea?

[Obviously you have never heard of the Perc-O-Toaster. And probably for good reason. - Dave]

Toasted

I have one of those Edison electric toasters like the ones lined up behind the first one. Still works like new. It toasts one side at a time, so you have to turn the bread around.

Let me be the first to point out

The grammatical error in the poster near the top of the wall on the left. That iron holds its heat, as well as one apostrophe too many. On the other hand, it would make a fabulous gift! Thanks for the suggestion, Dave.

Bask Naked in the Summer Sun

"Boxy device" next to the washer is an Eveready Sunshine Lamp. More here.

Enough to curl your hair

And somewhere in one of those boxes (front left, on the counter below the electric coffee pots) is the same model curling iron that gave her those perfect marcel waves.

Advance of Technology

You can tell how better off we are today, our floor polishers are big or bigger than riding lawnmowers. The version next to the mop could not even hold a single drunk person.

Welcome!

...To the Museum of Obsolete Technology! Where our motto is, "the more things change, the more they stay the same!"

Don't Try That Today

Or you will get the electric grill thrown right back at you upside the head. Women do not want "household items" as gifts any more. This is a beautiful store, with a very nice looking couple running it and the lady with "sausage curls" was very well groomed for 1929. Lots to see here, thank you Shorpy for another photo containing many wonderful items to jog the memory.

The bare bulbs

It seems that the several bare bulbs in the ceiling would have created a distracting glare. Wouldn't some sort of glass diffusers or shells have been available by this era? Perhaps they were so proud of their bulbs, they wanted shoppers to see them in all their unadorned glory.

On an unrelated note, the object the woman is leaning against looks sort of like a big-screen TV — an amusing illusion, to say the least.

Coal miner's wife

I am thinking of the poor coal miner's wife which was posted
yesterday. What a difference all these helpers would have
made for her, Another note. I still use a gooseneck lamp to read by. I have nothing better.

No Garden

Gee Dave, thanks alot for putting this great picture up at this time of year! I have fallen in and won't come out until my garden weeds are six feet high! The details have taken me hostage....will you ship me some squash come fall?

GE Monitor Top fridge

Love the GE Monitor Top refrigerator at the extreme right of the picture. Those things were built great, I myself have one only four years newer than this and it is still running perfectly.

Tick tock tick tock

My grandparents had the exact same clock as the "napoleon hat" shaped one to the right of the lady, and I still have a working flip toaster similar to the ones on her left.

I know a few people who would kill for one of those model trains in the cabinet at the back.

I feel like I'm in a time machine.

And just walked into this store with all these modern electric appliances. The detail is awesome, and it seems I could just ask either of these two a question about those cool little toasters. All these items would be very collectible today.

Mystery Object

On the right of the picture, on the table behind the clocks (beside the serious-looking woman), in front of the calendar -- what are those round things that look like they have lights going all the way around?

[Light bulb displays. - Dave]

Not for Xmas

My father once gave my mother a waffle iron for Xmas. He spent a very cold night.

Circa 1929

Thursday, May 2, 1929 to be exact. Oh, and I'll take all of those electric trains in the display case.

What is it?

What's the boxy device with the vented cupola next to the ABC washer (foreground, center)?

[An Eveready "Sunshine Lamp." See above. - Dave]

It's not the amps

It's not the amps, but the vamp who put the cat-that-swallowed-the-mouse look on the man's face. I think sparks have been flying in that room.

Electric Grill

C. Schneider's Sons

1207 F St. N.W.

Give Her An Electric Grill for Xmas

You Can Boil, Fry, Broil, Cook Anything
You Want in this Grill

1917_schneider_electric

Sun Lamp

Is that large lamp front center with what appears to be a transformer base a carbon-arc lamp? The box on the floor that would seem to go with it has a C and A on the end flap. Replacement parts?

[Letters on the box are U C. - Dave]

No sunglasses?

With nine bare bulbs, a tin ceiling and all that metal and chrome!

ABC Washer

The 2 tub spinner washing machine was first introduced by the Easy Washing Machine Corp. in 1926. This product differed from the wringer washers in that it had a second tub with a high speed spinner that extracted water from the clothes. A simple drain hose hung over the sink or into a drain pipe. I think ABC was merged into or bought by Easy, the largest manufacturer of washing machines in the 1920s. The company was sold to Murray Electric (now part of Siemens) in 1957, and then to The Hupp Corp. Easy production ended in 1963. At its peak in 1948 the company sold almost 500,000 units.

Schneider

I wonder if J.F. Schneider and Son Meats and Groceries was related to C. Schneider's Sons Electric store.

Collector's Dream!

As a collector of antique electric fans and related early electrical items, I feel like a kid in a candy store when I see pictures like this!

Wonderful stuff Dave, thank you for putting all these great photos out for the world to see. It's almost like going back in time. Quite a few of us fan collectors check out your site daily looking for early electric fans which appear in some of the photos.

Do you have any more shots of this particular store? I'd love to see different angles of all the goodies they had for sale.

[Alas, this is all there is. - Dave]

Electricity in the air

He was madly in love with her, and she knew it. Look at her Mona Lisa smile.

Most Fascinating of All

In a room of wonders for the period that would make it easy to wile away many hours of discovery and experimentation the most fascinating thing may just be the very up-to-date bare bulbs in the ceiling. These are an early version of todays ubiquitous yet now outdated "soft-white" incandescent bulb. Like the faces of both the man and flapper here photographed, all things, even with serious modernity, do come to an end.

Lionel Trains

Behind the man is a cabinet stocked with Lionel Electric Trains. Today, that inventory would be a nice collection to have. Growing up in D.C. during the fifties, I could walk to three hardware stores that sold these.

Current

I'm surprised they let all these AC appliances in DC.

Quite a variety

They even sold an electric mop! It must have been a failed prototype, though, seeing as they're hard to find now.

 
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