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About the Photos

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.

 
 
 
NEW FROM THE VINTAGRAPH VAULTS • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

The Pool Board: 1943

The Pool Board: 1943

January 1943. "Freight operations on the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad between Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. The engine crew, engineer and fireman report at the roundhouse office to be assigned their engine and given orders for the day. The cylinder at the left is the pool board; it lists the names of the men and the order and shift in which they will work." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

Guess What: 1943

Guess What: 1943

      So many of you guessed correctly on this one that we're not going to wait till tomorrow for the answer -- the lady's job is: Telegram gummer. Original caption for the photo, taken by Esther Bubley: "June 1943. Miss Kathleen McCarthy, a Western Union teleprinter operator, gumming telegraph messages."

The year is 1943 and the place is Washington, D.C. What is this girl doing? (Hint: Hundreds if not thousands of people had the same job over the course of many years.) Check back on Sunday for the answer. View full size.

 

Super Wasp: 1930

Super Wasp: 1930

        UPDATE: This is Dr. William C. Fowler, "health officer of Washington, D.C.," probably in 1924.

May-June 1930. Washington, D.C. "Man with radio." Or is it the other way around? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Major Bellows: 1920

Major Bellows: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Standard Engraving Co. big camera." Specifically, The Levy Process Camera. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

Fun With Freon: 1953

Fun With Freon: 1953

April 1953. "Comedians Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca posed in humorous situations with air conditioning units. Includes Caesar dressed in his 'professor' costume and Coca dressed as a mechanic, looking at a diagram of a cooling system." From photos by Arthur Rothstein and John Vachon for the Look magazine assignment "Air Conditioning -- How It Works." View full size.

Fleetwood: 1960

Fleetwood: 1960

"Fleetwood television circa 1960." Studio of Gordon Burt, Wellington, New Zealand. We don't guess this would stream Amazon or Netflix. View full size.

 

Victorian Radio: 1924

Victorian Radio: 1924

June 1924. Washington, D.C. "Carl W. Mitman, Curator of Engineering, U.S. National Museum [Smithsonian Institution], holding what is believed to be the first radio tube, made in 1898 by D. McFarlan Moore of New York. Radio waves emanating from this tube ignited a bomb a city block away and blew up a miniature of the Battleship Maine." Harris & Ewing glass plate. View full size.

 
 
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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