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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Paper Pusher: 1941

Paper Pusher: 1941

September 1941. Sheldon Springs, Vermont. "Feeding machine that grinds wood into pulp, one of the last stages in making paper at the Mississquoi Corporation mill." Medium-format nitrate negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Worst job at the mills

I worked summers at a mill in Maine and this was the worst job there was. Using pulp hooks and dragging logs into the hopper. Hot and backbreaking, and forget it if you fell behind the grinder or got a log in the wrong way causing a jam. As far as I know, it is still done this way.

Inside Story

I work at this mill. This was actually toward the start of the process. We don't have this part of the mill any more, we are completely recycled content now. However, the mill started as a stone groundwood mill. Balsam & spruce logs were brought in, debarked, and cut into 2 foot lengths. These were fed into pocket grinders seen in the photo. Rotating grind stones turned the logs into pulp. At the time of the picture these machines were powered solely by hydropower. It was the nicest smelling pulping process there ever was. This fiber was made into ticket stock, closure board, and matte board on cylinder board paper machines.


Pictures like this must make Safety Inspectors cringe. Heck, even I cringe.

Steampunk Nightmare

Looks like he's been miniaturized. And, yeah, having approached Luke, Maryland, I can say that it is an industry with a distinctive smell.

Don't forget the stench

Industrial paper making has to be one of the nastier-smelling industries in the nation. Just drive through Maine if you don't believe it.


Sort of has that "Metropolis" movie feel about it, the shirtless fellow, machinery, steam, dirt, grit and grime.

Working Man Too

Yes definitely a working man. Those were the days when a man wasn't afraid to get down and dirty. Dangerous, yes, but they had to do what was necessary before all our wondrous technology.

Working Man

Except for the fact that he's probably standing on a red hot, steam powered grinder and his lungs are probaby filled with pulp, he looks quite fit. Or maybe it's because he's only 17.

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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