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About the Photos

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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Burning of the Imperial Refinery

Burning of the Imperial Refinery

Oil City, Pennsylvania, September 10, 1875. At 6 a.m., one of the receiving tanks was struck by lightning.

Glass lantern slide, about 3.5 x 4 inches.

I found this same image on a stereo card published by Frank Robbins of Oil City. Does this mean that Frank Robbins also took the photo, and that this was his glass slide? I have no clue.

Also, blown up to its full 55M glory, this is just an especially beautiful picture. The tones and textures are fantastic. View full size.

Striking shot

Simply beautiful, the billowing smoke is very striking and the proportions set by the people in front show the sheer mass of the fire.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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