SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:


Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

The Inferno: 1900

The Inferno: 1900

Circa 1900. "Illinois Steel Works, Joliet." Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Up in Smoke

I live in Joliet, and ride the train to Chicago every day on this same line. I'm pretty sure this view is due north, in which case all of the buildings to the left have been torn down (though their foundations are still there, and are the basis of a county heritage park) though some of the buildings on the right are probably still there.


Hot Metal

The cars the 0-4-0 is pushing are early hot metal cars, predecessors of the later huge bottle cars. They were filled with molten iron at the blast furnaces in the left background, and are being pushed up the ramp to be charged into whatever kind of steelmaking furnace they had at the time, either Bessemer Converter or Open Hearth. Later, this would have been a Basic Oxygen Furnace. The configuration of a ramp trestle up to the charging level has remained constant until recent times, although metal sides were added to the trestle later to contain spilled hot metal.

Banjo Signal

The signal visible above the first Chicago & Alton gondola, on the left, is a Banjo signal, these were early percursors of todays searchlight signals. They used colored cloth to give two indications. Also of note is the 0-4-0 switcher pushing two bottle cars, probably containing slag.

Different levels of hell

This makes me not feel so bad about working in a cube.

Gimme the Works

Looks like steel, coke, railroad ties, soot and stone works all rolled in one.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.