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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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Making Babies: 1936

Making Babies: 1936

1936. "Mt. Holyoke, Mass. - Paragon Rubber Co. and American Character Doll. Pressing rubber bodies (French)." With "Old Sadie." Continuing our guys-and-dolls series. Large format negative by Lewis Hine. View full size.

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Fit as a fiddle

The young man is very fit and handsome too!

Best caption of 2013

Game over. This one won't be topped.

What a Doll

As nice as that is to look at, it would never fly today.

It looks like his belt buckle is off to the side. Do you suppose the buckle interfered with the molds?

[Back in the day, it was evidently a thing. Exhibits A, B, C, D, E. - Dave]

I find that very interesting. Thanks Dave.

No one has mentioned

the unbelievable smell of hot steaming rubber wafting throughout the workplace, Yikes !!

Wanted: Workers for Toy Factory

Must be ripped & willing to work shirtless.

Temperature's rising!

Phew! It's getting warm in here!

We Are Paragon, We Are Buff!

This and its predecessor photo suggest that one of Paragon's fringe benefits was a well-attended bodybuilding club.

[There's also the possibility that the job involves lifting heavy things - like molds - for many hours each day. - tterrace]

Paragon Rubber Company

If they were still in business I'll bet they'd have cross-over photo advertising connections to Ambercrombie's and their rubber doll sales would be soaring to dizzying heights.

Dippers and Strippers

I certainly am no expert in the art of making molded rubber toys, etc. but years ago I had a good friend who worked in a rubber glove factory. The ceramic molds had to be dipped in liquid latex, hardened and/or dried and then stripped off the molds in just the correct time period which was a very difficult and precise job The people who removed the rubber gloves from the molds were called strippers and those who dipped them into the liquid were called dippers. Needless to say, the molds were very heavy, often very hot and it was tricky to remove the finished product without tearing or damaging it. I believe my friend mentioned that the strippers had the most difficult job stripping the molds and I believe the built up biceps probably came from long term work of that type. This was over 25 years ago, so it may be much more modernized today.

Old Lady?

What does the chalked inscription say on the machine?

[It's in the caption! - Dave]

DOH! Missed that first time around. Sorry, Dave.

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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