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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE ARTIST'S GARDEN BY CLAUDE MONET

Ample Time for Meals: 1900

Ample Time for Meals: 1900

Circa 1900. "New York Central R.R. dining room." Full of high-class touches. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Varnished

I think the wrapped chandeliers are due to what looks to be a freshly painted ceiling. There was another Shorpy photo last year that also had a chandelier wrapped in much the same way. I couldn't find that photo if my life depended on it, but I recall it was shot in to a hall mirror and had the photographers image reflected in the mirror. I also recall that I drooled over the wallpaper. I would love to put it in the parlor of my 1895 Queen Anne.

Lighting fun

Unless I'm mistaken, those chandeliers are both gas and electric. The upward facing globes are typical of gas chandeliers of the era while the downward facing ones at the ends are clearly electric. It's almost as if the electric portion was an add-on, which could explain the surface-mount 'knob and tube' wiring on the ceiling (post-installation conversion and/or upgrade).

Time to eat

Get those skinny newsboys out of the pool and send 'em straight here for a good meal!

Reflective Mood

How convenient to look up at the ceiling to see if your hair is parted perfectly down the middle.

Not quite panchromatic

A good example of how emulsions back then rendered reds and yellows. As well as oranges and bananas. Why lipstick looks almost black in a lot of old photos.

Electrical Wiring Cozies

All of the overhead wiring for the light fixtures seem to have been wrapped in cloth as a decorative effort. While I'm sure it looked quite pleasant in person, it does look forced and unbalanced in this image. Maybe Martha Stewart's grandmother could have suggested a better method for wrapping to provide a neater, uniform, pressed, and crisp appearance. Paula Dean's grandmother would merely state that the tables need more butter.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

I think the sign on the righthand wall says:

Conductors will
make announcement
of departure
of Trains
in each
direction

Well, that's good to know.

Fast Food

America has always had a bad reputation for fast eating and after all invented fast food!

I heard a European say that it angers him for the waiter to ask to take his order before he is served his first glass of wine.

Say Cheesecloth

What's with the wrapping on the chandeliers? Is that a sanitary thing? Some decorative motif I've never heard of? This is one of the things I love about Shorpy: all these little details that don't exist anymore. So interesting.

Artwork

Note Seneca Ray Stoddard's photographs of the Adirondacks on the wall.

The Last Supper

This dining room would have been at the end of the era when these facilities were being replaced by dining cars.

In earlier days one wonders about the luxuries of such facilities when traveling westward to such metropolises as Cheyenne or Yuma. The exception would have been as seen photographs on this site of the famed Harvey House restaurants along the old Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Here one would find high standards for food (and chaperoned Harvey Girls).

Hasty puddings

By 1900, the heyday of the dining car (or at least the dawn of the heyday) was at hand and hastily bolted meals at greasy whistlestop slophouses was mostly an unhappy memory, especially on heavily traveled Eastern lines like the Central.

Is there further information regarding this dining room? Was it perhaps located out on some far flung hayseed tendril of the Vanderbilt empire where the barbaric practices of the '70s still held sway? Indiana maybe?

I zoomed in and noticed this!

I know that show has been rerun a long time but I had no idea.

In the Good Old Summertime

I'm guessing that this photo was taken during the summer, because the chandeliers have been wrapped in gauze to keep flies from spotting them. The same thing was often done in summer to protect expensive giltwood frames on mirrors and paintings.

Cruets and spittoons

Best of both worlds.

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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