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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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The Bath House: 1910

The Bath House: 1910

Bath County, Virginia, circa 1910. "The Homestead. Bath house foyer, Virginia Hot Springs." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

What's that?

This might be too ignorant of history for this crowd, but what's that triangle like object on top of the desk?

[A calendar! - Dave]

Thanks to Tom

Thanks for posting that ad. It "adds to" the photo.

Weighing In

A restaurant near my hometown had (possibly still has) one of these antique machines! I thought it was really awesome when I was a kid -- it was operational.

Mal's comment makes me a little curious. Obviously, people in the past were concerned about appearances, and while the specific standards of beauty have changed over time, the preoccupation has probably always been there. But I wonder if the average bathhouse visitor in 1910 would have had the same relationship to scale numbers as we do today, or if it might have been more of a curiosity. My hunch is that it just didn't mean as much to see particular numbers come up as it does now, and therefore it wasn't as "humiliating" as it seems to be now (though there are TV shows premised around public weigh-ins-- God Bless America.)

I wonder when the scale number really started to mean something to most Americans? My guess is mid-century, post-Depression. Anyone know? I have an ad for mid-century bathroom scales that starts with a baldface lie ("For Christmas She'd love a Borg bathroom scale!") and moves on from there. Because really-- why just say "Merry Christmas honey!" when you can wish her a skinnier New Year too?

I've said it before

Makes me think of a set from The Loved One.

Lacks smell appeal

Not an appealing room. It makes me think of the smell of disinfectant or chlorine.

Bring Your Change

Classy place. 5¢ and a trip to the foyer is required to weigh oneself. And a dial on the scale that everyone can see clearly.

"Virginia Resorts"

From The Washington Post - March 14, 1906

Correct weight one nickel

For a penny we'll lie to you.


Bring in the potted palms!

It costs weigh too much

Five cents in 1910 had the purchasing power of about $1.15 today, which sounds steep even for a swanky weighing machine.

Which, for no discernible reason, reminds me of a rhyme from my misspent youth:

An Arab stood on a weighing machine
In the light of the dying day.
A counterfeit penny he dropped in the slot,
And silently stole a weigh.

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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