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Working Lunch: 1941

Working Lunch: 1941

December 1941. "Workmen at lunch hour on emergency office space construction job. Washington, D.C." Period details: milk bottle, waxed paper, painters' caps. Medium-format nitrate negative by John Collier. View full size.


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Milk for lunch

I work at an historic site, years ago some digging took place and it was interesting to see how many wide mouth milk bottles were unearthed. A real staple for lunch back then.

Pee-Gee Paints

The cap on the leftmost painter advertises Pee-Gee Paints, made by the Peaslee-Gaulbert Company of Louisville. Peaslee-Gaulbert was bought by New York-based DeVoe in 1928, which maintained the brand for several decades thereafter. DeVoe was eventually acquired by the British company ICI; upon ICI's dissolution in 2008 the paint division was acquired by Dutch conglomerate AkzoNobel, which sells under the DeVoe brand today.


Now we know who the culprit was who left the empty milk bottle on the curb in the last photo.


The fellow in front has exceptionally manicured hands.

Location, Location, Location

I believe that the photographer is standing on the Mall, looking at the USDA building in the background, as shown in the bottom photo.

After these "temporary" buildings were erected during WW II, the scene looked more like what we see in the photo below. (I put the word "temporary" in quotes because some of these ugly buildings weren't finally torn down until the 1960s!)

Seated From Right To Left

Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Otho Behr, Jr.

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