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.
This was a black and white Shorpy image used in a Fark Photoshop contest back in early August of '09. According to the information in the contest, this is a photo taken in a patent library. I colorized it for my entry and won that contest. View full size.