SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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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The Binders: 1910

The Binders: 1910

Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "Government Printing Office -- binding." Another look at the workings of the GPO. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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Govt Printing Office

GPO had the distinction of being the largest printer under a single roof in the world up to the recent past. It is a large building still used today on North Capitol Street. The pillars are numbered for logistic reasons, directions in moving mass amounts of paper in a very large building. Having been in the printing business close to 40 years in the DC area I find the use of chains to bundle stacks of signatures for binding. This was way way before my time.


Right there on the floor, the government version of the chain letter.


I like how all of the columns are numbered. I imagine with all of the stacking going on the columns played an integral part in the organization of finished or ongoing projects/jobs.

Wood blocks

That's a Kreolite-style wood block floor. There was one in the mailroom where I used to work. Had that faint creosote odor of railroad ties. The advantages were said to be sound control and resiliency. Plus it wore like iron.

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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