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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Acme at Work: 1921

Acme at Work: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Acme Card System Co." Another look at this pioneering indexing and filing system, as well as a rare glimpse at the day job of one Miss O. Oyl. Seen here recording an order for magnetic birdseed. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

A librarian's best friend

Once upon a time, when our government distibuted its papers among depository libraries, I worked at one in a well-known university. We recorded the receipt of periodicals by hand, on Acme cards.

Much faster than typing catalog cards!

To answer the chicken-wire query....

It was used as a means of stopping a pane of glass from breaking into dangerous shards and was, in fact, the first type of universally-used safety glass.

It was widely used in shower screens, louvred-window panels and, as one Shorpyan has noted, in the vision panels of elevator doors. (I worked for Otis here in Australia for almost 30 years and can clearly recall as an apprentice replacing broken panels, particularly those used in freight elevators).

Look it up.

Interestingly enough, "mind numbing" and "boring" can be found on the same index card.

Hair Fashion

Everyone seems to be into the hair fashion of the day. Was Mary Pickford the influence?

I'd like to place an order, please

In this case, I'd like a bottle of 1000 Instant Martians and a dozen Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulators.

The Acme Empire

Would Acme Card Systems by any chance be a subsidiary of the Acme Hole Co.?

Chicken Wire...

The 1910 era hotel I grew up in had some windows with chicken wire embedded in the glass. Our vintage Otis elevator had large windows in the doors on every floor. Inside the elevator was a brass accordion door. The elevator windows were made of really thick plate glass with hexagonal woven wire embedded in it. They were sort of like safety glass - the wire apparently made them harder to shatter. The doors weren't automatic - when the elevator reached your floor, you had to manually slide them open. And you could reach through the accordion door and touch the shaft while the elevator was moving (not that *I* ever tried such a thing). But we were safe, because our elevator windows had reinforced glass!

Chicken wire

We had that type of glass in my jr high school. I don't know if it was a pre-safety glass thing to avoid large nasty shards of broken glass, a security measure to resist popping out a whole pane, or both.

Coat envy

I would (figuratively) kill for that coat with the buttons on the woman in the middle! Also: nice hair.

Work Hard...

Or we'll transfer you to the rocket-propelled unicycle division.

A Different Day

This photo was taken on a different day from the one below. The calendar is gone, and the fan has that cross below it.

[It's the same day. But not the same wall. - Dave]

"Oh, Popeye.."

Ms. Oyl may not have her mind on her work.

Upgrading

The gal at the back desk is scowling because her operation was not chosen to benefit from the state-of-the-art Acme system, forcing her to deal with that disorganized paper haystack the old fashioned way. Also: another bottle of ink.

Chicken wire

Why is there chicken wire over the windows? To prevent birds from coming through an open window? Or perhaps to protect the pedestrians below from whatever suddenly gets ejected from the office?

[Another possibility is that the wire is embedded in the glass. - Dave]

Office Max?

I like that each chair and table is different.

Also, don't look directly at the woman with the print shirt; you will turn to stone.

 
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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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