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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 • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Clerks: 1925

Clerks: 1925

July 16, 1925. Washington, D.C. "U.S. Patent Office." Information storage and retrieval in the analog age. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

 

Ooh la la!

Surely you must add this to the "Handsome Rakes" gallery.

Just add water

Can you imagine if those sprinklers ever went off just above the shelves? Patent Mush!

Farked at the Patent Office

Google: the early years

The guy on the left SCREAMS Asperger's syndrome. The guy on the right just screams.

Re: Re: Leave The Boys Alone

My entire post about "leaving the boys alone" was tongue in cheek. Especially the part about colorization, that was a poke at the anti-colorizing crowd. (Friends always tell me my sense of humor is too dry. Cough. Cough.)

Re Re: Leave the boys alone

Personally, I'd like to think that 100 years from now, someone, perhaps in the holographic 21st century version of Shorpy, sees my photo and thinks "wow, what a hottie!"

Re: Leave the boys alone!

Oh, Anonymous Tipster, do you really want to go there? Really? Have you happened to read some of the comments directed toward the women that appear on Shorpy? Or do those not bother you?

Mom at work

My mother was a technical translator (seven or eight languages into English) in the Patent Office Library in the 1920s. She said her desk was near a window and staircase in the stacks. I managed to talk my way into that area at least a decade ago and think I found the location.

Lord of the Patents

Looks like the twin brother of Orlando Bloom from "Lord of the Ring" movie

I Wonder

How many nearsighted patent clerks took a header over the railing?

Leave the boys alone!

Why does every photograph have to get comments about the physique of the man, or how dorky he looks, or how handsome/hunky/plain he is?

I almost hate to read the comments when men are in the photographs!

On a separate note, I love the colorized version "Patents to Portraits"!

["Colorized version"?? It's a photo taken in 2006. - Dave]

The Family Seat

Of course all these patents are now online at Google, including my grandfather's patents for a "sanitary stool seat cover" from 1921.

Those Bookcases

look like something wild animals have been chewing on. But it all fades into nothingness when I look at the simply gorgeous face of Guy on Right. Woof.

Mmmpatents

Ooh, the guy on the right is like the James Dean of patents.

Also, I love the architecture, especially the glass ceiling and the little balconies that let you go around the support columns.

The odd couple

Me-yow! Why wasn't I in the U.S. Patent Office on July 16, 1925? The Handsome Buddy looks to be a little young for me, but he would have been right up my alley 10 or 15 years ago. I love that steely stare. Feminine gushing aside, what's happening with the Ultimate Patent Geek's trousers? Has he hidden away secret patent information in his pockets? I wonder if he's trying to patent that makeshift wire belt (?) he's using to hold up his lumpy slacks.

Still the same

The digs may have changed, but the employees still look the same: geeky and rumpled, with a cute one thrown in here and there for good measure.

Poltergeist

Down below, a clerk confronts a destructive poltergeist that has emptied the contents of a shelf upon the floor.

"Let's have none of that now! Put it back!"

Patents to Portraits

The Old Patent Office building now houses the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Where's Indiana Jones?

This reminds me of the final scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

The Very Picture

The clerk in the foreground is EXACTLY how the Ultimate Patent Geek should look! Glasses, hair, rumpled shirt, notepad, "almost remembers" where every application got filed for the last five years, hopes his handsome buddy is lining them up with dates for the weekend.

 
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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