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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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Stovepipe Hut: 1938

Stovepipe Hut: 1938

October 1938. "Tent of migrant stove maker and repairer on U.S. 90 near Jeanerette, Louisiana." Photo by Russell Lee for the FSA. View full size.

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Well, maybe...

Most tin stoves I've used got cherry red on top but pretty cool on the bottom. Still, we spread sand just to be safe.

Tin Stove

More properly, a sheet-metal stove as opposed to a cast iron one. Calling sheet metal, especially thin sheet metal, "tin" is common in the South.

Tin stoves were used by people who moved around because they were relatively light weight. They don't last long because heat promotes corrosion. After a short time, perhaps less than a year, the corrosion would "eat through" around the firebox, and the stove had to be repaired or replaced. Stoves made of cast iron, either one piece or assembled from parts, are much heavier and harder to move, but can last a lifetime or longer with care.

And people were very conscious of the fire hazard, but didn't really have any good choices. They could either accept the hazard and try to take precautions, or do without heat or cooking. No 100-amp electric service on the pole in the RV camp in those days. It's a little surprising that this fellow, who presumably has a stock of sheet metal, doesn't have a metal plate under the stove -- that was common in houses with wood floors, and wealthier people had tile or masonry.

Rushes on floor

My grandmother, from Wilkes Barre PA who was born in 1881, used to tell us about putting down rushes on the floor in the summer. I've heard about it since then, but have never seen a picture of such a thing before. Seemed it was a way to keep the dirt down. As the green rushes dried, they replace them with fresh ones, at least that's what I recall of what she said about it. Does look like quite a fire hazard though!

Dangerous Combination

This is just a wild guess, but I think I'd be a bit leery of using fire in a straw-filled tent.

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.

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