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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Accident, Part 2

The Accident, Part 2

November 12, 1906. "Accident at Michigan Central R.R. depot, Detroit." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Intact example

Go here to see a loco and tender that appear to be very similar to the ones in the accident photo:

Motion capture

Both of the photos of this accident show a lot of understanding of the delicate balance of what was possible in the available light with the emulsions available to the photographer at the moment. Many people wouldn't have bothered because they knew it wouldn't have been a completely sharp image. The photographer with an 8x10 would know the expense and time involved in developing and printing each shot. He chose to shoot it anyway.

The fact that motion blurred is not immaterial to these photos -- it brings a moment in time to life for me that I can't experience any other way.

These photos are great, as are the choices made in the transfer to digital here. I know it is not possible to pull detail and contrast out that is not in the original - but the result is very strong. Perhaps more so than the photographer might have chosen in a more "literal interpretation."

Doesn't matter -- this is a great pair. I love it.


Imagine yourself sitting in that office with the collapsed floor, seconds before the train hits. I wonder if you could survive that.

Forensic trainspotting

The workmen are on top of the "sloped back" tender tank. These were used on switch engines to improve visibility when backing up. The backup light is in front of the guy with the shovel. Under the tender tank is one of the trucks that have been sheared off the underframe.

Buried in the building is the crushed cab of the engine.

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.

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