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.
My Aunt Rose took this picture during a parade in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, most likely in the late 1930s. I don't know the occasion, but I'm sure it was Quakertown because of a sign in an accompanying photo. I must have looked at this picture for several minutes, marveling at the huge wooden wheels and the fancy brass work, before I noticed that the hose reel, if that's what it is, has a mirror in it! You can see part of a brick house across the street and behind Aunt Rose.
That's quite a piece of firefighting equipment, but I wonder about the mirror, the duplicate of which (mirror image?) must surely be on the other side.
Does anyone know exactly what this contraption is? The word "Independent" appears on the hub of the reel. View full size.