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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Hooked Up: 1919

Hooked Up: 1919

Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. equipment." More communications gear at what seems to be the Capitol. The box on the left bears the nameplates of Leeds & Northrup, Philadelphia, and Western Electric. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size | The knobs.

 

Knobs, Dials and Switches

A lot of this test equipment was being used right up to the time that transistorized test equipment became readily available. It didn't really wear out. If a tube burnt out, you replaced it and kept on going. I was using similar stuff well into the 1960s.

Leeds & Northrup

They made calibration and test equipment for a long time. Their main competitor was General Radio. These companies used a lot of oak in their product cabinets.

General Signal eventually bought them, and they turned into nothingness.

I find it curious that there is no Wikipedia page on this company, which everyone over a certain age who works in electronics has heard of.

A Whiff of Ozone

When I was a child, my father worked on electronics similar to this -- though not quite as complicated. He would warn me about the high voltages lurking throughout the cabinet, and the smell of ozone hanging in the air would drive home the point.

Send a signal to Superman

This gear looks like equipment Professor Pepperwinkle might have in the back of his laboratory. When something goes awry, or some bad guys with evil intent steal the Professor's latest invention, send a signal to Superman and pray that he'll save the day.

Knobs, Dials and Switches

Click below to enlarge; click again to expand the resulting image.

 
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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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