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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 • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

Mining

Carnival Ride From Hell: 1911

Carnival Ride From Hell: 1911

A view of the Pennsylvania Breaker. “Breaker Boys” remove rocks and other debris from the coal by hand as it passes beneath them. The dust is so dense at times as to obscure the view and penetrates the utmost recesses of the boys’ lungs. South Pittston, Pennsylvania. January 1911. View full size. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.

From the 1906 book The Bitter Cry of the Children by labor reformer John Spargo:

Work in the coal breakers is exceedingly hard and dangerous. Crouched over the chutes, the boys sit hour after hour, picking out the pieces of slate and other refuse from the coal as it rushes past to the washers. From the cramped position they have to assume, most of them become more or less deformed and

 

Watch Your Fingers

Watch Your Fingers

Machine used in mine that digs the coal and loads it on the car. With it three men can do the work of 50 in the old way. Yet they use boys to drive and trap. Gary, West Virginia. September 1908. View full size.

 

Laura Mine: 1908

Laura Mine: 1908

Bank Boss (on right), Brake Boy (in center). Laura Mine, Red Star, West Virginia. September 1908. View full size.

 

In the Tunnel: 1908

In the Tunnel: 1908

September 1908. Gary, West Virginia. "Drivers and Mules in a coal mine where much of the mining and carrying is done by machinery. Open flame on oil headlamps." View full size.

From the Web site of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Museum of Anthracite Mining in Ashland:

 

Shorpy Higginbotham: 1910

Shorpy Higginbotham: 1910

December 1910. "Shorpy Higginbotham, a 'greaser' on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. in Alabama. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 
 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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