SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

The Roundhouse: 1864

The Roundhouse: 1864

November 1864. "Railroad yards at Atlanta. The Roundhouse. Ruins of depot, blown up on Sherman's departure." Wet plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!


Prior to the invention of the Westinghouse air brake in 1869 shortly after the Civil War, the brakeman's job was a miserable and dangerous one, while being constantly exposed to the elements when on duty.

Notice the long metal vertical rod operated by a handlebar on the back of the third car from the left which actuated the brake mechanisms on the trucks. Each car had to have its brakes adjusted manually by the brakeman sitting on the roof.

The third car clearly shows there's a footrest for the brakeman and directly to the right and slightly below is an open window where the foreman may shout orders at him.
Such luxuries!

Notice also the coupler system in this photo prior to the invention of the Janney spring-loaded coupler of 1874.
Look at those big square holes you had to load with big iron pins to tie the cars together.

Many opportunities to lose a limb or just get squished altogether, which happened often.


Sorry Dave - my picture source was dated wrong. My knowledge of your Civil War needs work. Guess the only thing I got right was both pictures have trains in them.

[Confusion probably stems from the fact that 1866 is the year the folio of photographs including the image below was published, not when the pictures were taken. - Dave]


A rather tranquil scene with the man taking his ease on the boxcar roof. The raw logs under the rails are in sharp contrast to the sleepers of today. But two years on all was to change.

[This isn't "two years on" -- both photos (which show different roundhouses) were made late in 1864. - Dave]

Switch Design

They had a more obvious idea of how a switch had to work.

SHORPY OLD 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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.