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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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Grafonolas on G: 1919

Grafonolas on G: 1919

October 1919. Washington D.C. "Harry C. Grove, front, G Street N.W." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Definitely a Studebaker Big Six

Those hubcaps were available as a Studebaker aftermarket item.

Stude Big Six

Studebaker Big Six.

Stude Light Six

The big car is a Studebaker Light Six.

It's a 1917 Hupmobile Roadster

Found a site with that same hubcap and this picture of an advertisement. Looks like the same car.


Graphophone and Grafonola were trade names of the Columbia phonograph company, which competed with Edison in the cylinder era, and later, with the far more popular Victor in the 78rpm Victrola era. They made both kinds of machines, but there were no "combination" players, as there is virtually nothing in common between a cylinder phonograph and a flat-disc 78 phonograph. Columbia managed to coexist with Victor, often by emphasizing ethnic "race" records that are prized by collectors today. Through many reorganizations, Columbia made it into the radio and TV era (CBS) and developed the LP record in 1948 which became an industry standard until displaced by digital CDs.

Model T and ??

Car on the left is definitely a Model T Ford, no idea about the one on the right, the hubcaps look distinctive though. Anyone have an idea?

Graphophone > Grafonola

The Grafonola was preceded by the Graphophone, a device that played both the Edison recorded cylinders and the newer 78 RPM records. This was sort of like the DVD/VCR combos we are more familiar with, however they took up a lot more space.

Dr. Morgan Otterback

Previous Shorpy Post: 1917 Opening of Grafonola Hall

Washington Post, Mar 3, 1949

Dr. Otterback

Funeral services for Dr. Morgan Otterback, 69, of 513 Seward Sq. se., dental surgeon here for many years, will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Lee Funeral Home, 300 4th st ne. Burial will be in Congressional Cemetery.

Dr. Otterback, a native of Fairfax County, Va., died Tuesday at his country home in California, St. Mary's County, Md., after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mamie A. Otterback; a daughter, Mrs. Jean O. Wilderson; a sister, Miss Agnes C. Otterback, and a brother, Guy P. Otterback.

"Kodaks" implied roll film

As opposed to sheet film. George Eastman was kind of the Henry Ford of photography - he made taking pictures simple and inexpensive, bringing it to the masses. The earliest Kodaks were sealed shut - you bought it, took your pictures, then mailed the whole camera back to Kodak, who sent you your prints, negative, and your camera reloaded with film. No muss, no fuss. This was only a few years after the time when photographers actually had to mix and pour the emulsion chemicals onto glass plates right on the spot before the shoot!

Parlors, Bedrooms and Baths

Buster Keaton's "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" came out in 1931.

An earlier version was produced in 1920.


Another interesting view of times past. I was thinking the touring car behind the "T" was a Lincoln, but I might be wrong. Other guesses?

No cameras

Note that they sell Kodaks. Apparently no cameras to be found there.

I wonder if Kodak had any viable competitors in this era.

Three Faces East

I wondered what the poster for "Three Faces East" was advertising. According to the following link, it was a play on Broadway in 1918-1919.

[The playbill in the window is advertising the same drama, at the National Theater. - Dave]

Parlor, Bedroom and Bath

One of the movies advertised on posters in the window of the barber shop is "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath." You can watch, or download this movie at:

National Photo Company HQ

Based on the sign next to the Grafonolas shop, it looks like the photographer didn't have to travel too far from his headquarters to get this image.

Columbia Grafonola

I grew up with a Grafonola in our house, something we'd gotten from my paternal (I think) grandparents. It had an internal horn and looked something like an overgrown music box. The volume control was a set of louvers. Every so often I'd crank it up and play one of the old acoustic 78s we'd inherited. Not too often, because the tone arm had a tracking force of about a pound, it seemed. There was a supply of steel and cactus thorn needles, and the whole thing smelled of machine oil.

Drs. Otterback & Madert

Dentists above the Barber Shop -- a holdover from the even older days or awesome coincidence?


I believe you can see the photographer's reflection in the Dulin store window. You have to look through the automobile to see it. I assume he is standing to the side of his camera while the shutter was open, making adjustments or waiting to close the shutter or something.

Cameras in the window

How nice to be able to go back in time and walk in and buy a nice selection of cameras from this era. I collect antique cameras and still use them on a regular basis, so this would be a treasure trove for me.

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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