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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

Members Only: 1910

Members Only: 1910

October 1910. Washington, Missouri. "Some of the boys working in Phoenix American Cob Pipe Factory. Smallest boy is Joe Krummel. See sign: 'Wanted -- Men and Boys.' Around corner was a sign, 'Girls Wanted.' Couldn't get any photos of girls." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Corncob fuel

In later years, a model steam locomotive was built by one of the workers at the corncob pipe factory. He used defective pipe bowls and cob scraps to power his 1/8 scale steamer instead of coal. He called his railroad "Route of the Corn Cob" and the new owner who lives near Washington, MO runs the engine at the Mid-South Live Steam club track in Columbia, TN.

Lucky Horseshoe

That horseshoe on the gate is hung with the ends pointing down. The one who installed it must have believed that luck pours on you in that position rather than the popular belief that loss of luck occurs if it pours out. Or he never gave it a thought.

Boy with pipe

He has an air of lazy grace and tough as nails confidence. That pose speaks volumes, even if it was only a serendipitous itch on the back of his head. I wish I could do a Purple Rose of Cairo and walk into this picture to get his story.

Washington, MO

is the capital of corn cob pipe manufacturing. All of General Douglas MacArthur's signature corn cob pipes came from one company (Missouri Meerschaum) in Washington, made to his precise specification (including burn marks so it didn't look new!). Missouri Meerschaum still produces the "MacArthur Natural" along with 17 other models.

Started in 1869, the Missouri Meerschaum Company is the largest corn cob pipe manufacturer in the world, has been producing hand-made pipes for customers that included President Dwight Eisenhower and Mark Twain. The company's products were even used in the Robin Williams movie "Popeye." Even with the decline in smoking the demand for corn cob pipes remains and they are still churning 'em out there, albeit without the use of child labor anymore.

The Implied Statement

Photos from this period of street and factory kids show a rough era. One had to know and be adept at the "sweet science" of fisticuffs.

Each one is showing the thought, "why I oughta..."

And this is the look you would have gotten if you were the pathetic "new kid."

Members Only: 1910

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. The smallest boy, identified by Hine as Joe Krummel, was in fact Joe Krimmel (WWI draft registration). According to the Social Security Death Index, he was born January 15, 1897, and died in Amazonia, Missouri, in September 1975. There is a family history posting on the Web that states that Joe had a son named Victor Junior Krimmel, who had a son named Victor Junior Krimmel, Jr. According to the Nevada Marriage Index, the younger Victor married Patricia Ann Rager on May 6, 2005. Their last address appears to be in Nebraska.

Showin' Off

The guy outside with his derby at that angle is just showing off for the camera. The guy you really want to watch out for is the one in the suit and tie giving the rest of them the stink eye. His derby is pushed forward. You just know he's tough and he's got something to back that up with. He'll fire the lot of them for being lazy no accounts if they don't get back to work right now and anyone who argues is going to get a well placed boot where it won't be at all useful.

Fashion Forward

Over on the right, these boyz are stylin! Open-placket shirt, tucked tie, popped collar; Knicker-Boy Joe with arm akimbo; Mr. Sweater in the classic three-quarters stance; and best of all, Bowtie Pipe voguing a runway pose. Those highwaters are the perfect foundation.

Immortality Lost

Hey you there! On the left... squeeze in a bit! Awwww shucks!

Rakish, or Nonconformish?

I wonder if cocking your derby was the 1910 equivalent of the backward baseball cap.

 
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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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