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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Working Lunch: 1900

Working Lunch: 1900

Kingston, Pennsylvania, circa 1900. "Breaker boy, Woodward coal mines." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Poster Boy

Thank you for this great photograph! It made me think how much these kids suffered to make our day. They're actually our great-grandparents, who built our civilization on their backbones. So, I decided to honor them, most still unknown heroes, with this motivational poster:

Shiny things

Since tterrace was flummoxed (I love that word!) I decided to see if I could google around and find anything similar. I say thats a miners lunch pail, even if the "cup" is quite shallow. Just like this one:

Shiny things again

Ah, here we have a close view of the shiny things that had flummoxed me earlier. Now the question is, what's the round structure on the top? Other examples of early lunch pails I've located online have cups with handles attached like that, but these here are all much shallower.

Illuminate me

Not sure why a breaker boy would have an oil lamp on his hat. Didn't they work outside the mine in daylight? I'd guess he was a nipper or spragger or some other job inside the mine.

[Breaker boys worked in the breaker. -Dave]

Lone wolf

A previous Shorpy pic was shot at the same location and probably the same lunch break.

Lunch pails

Have you seen any on Ebay? Bet they would go for a pretty good price.


Did this kid know Shorpy?

Cold Reality

There's nothing like this photo to give me a much-needed slap in the face when I start to complain about things. We all need to stop complaining, and be grateful that we Shorpsters aren't living this sort of life nowadays.

Generous lunch break

Ten minutes and all you can eat.

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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