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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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Federal Auto: 1917

Federal Auto: 1917

Washington, D.C., circa 1917. "Federal Auto Supply Co., Pennsylvania Avenue." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Tire Trollop

That appears to be the Kelly Girl in the left door. An infamous ad from 1910 showed her sitting on a Kelly tire and exposing her ankles! It was a huge controversy.

Dairy Lunch Redux

Oh, of course! Duh! Thank you! To differentiate themselves from the "free lunch" offered by bars, as a respectable eating place. I suppose the "family lunch" places we've seen advertised in some photos had the same idea.

Dairy Lunch

I always assumed, when I saw "dairy lunches" mentioned in old novels, that it meant the same thing in gentile circles that it does in Jewish ones -- that is, a restaurant that doesn't serve meat. Looking at this photo, I'm getting the idea that I might have been wrong about that. Either that or this is the craziest kosher restaurant ever! So what is a dairy lunch, anyway?

[The "dairy lunch room" came to prominence in the late 19th century, offering fast food for white-collar workers. The name signified "not a saloon" as much as it did the contemporary fad for malteds, shakes and ice cream. Dairy bars found new popularity with the rise of the temperance movement and advent of Prohibition. A lot of these places were former taverns. - Dave]

Re: Eh?

Unless it was 477 Penn Ave SE, which would put it behind the capital about halfway to Eastern Market. Some surviving buildings in that neighborhood are reminiscent of these buildings.

[This is 477 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. - Dave]

The Dairy Lunch today

The Court Street Dairy Lunch still exists in Salem, Oregon. A luncheon based on dairy products must have been considered particularly healthsome.

A Legless Veteran

Given the dating of the picture as "circa 1917" I think it's reasonable to suppose that the legless man might be a World War I veteran injured in the War.

[He's an old man, so he would not be a WWI vet. - Dave]


477 would be right about where the Canadian Embassy is now.

The legless beggar

Did the photographer mean to make a social statement with this picture? Probably not, considering racial attitudes back then. But a legless black beggar one door away from a good hot 25-cent meal sure hit me between the eyes.


Hm. Ford Parts next door to Ford Lunch -- maybe I don't wanna know.

Today's Query

Anyone know where I can get some hot rolls?


Been a while since I've had liver and onions for any meal let alone lunch. I'll spring for the small steak for man in need at the drug store. Any idea what the hose near the curb might have been for?

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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