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Bingo Zimba: 1943

Bingo Zimba: 1943

June 1943. Arlington, Virginia. "A soldier treating his date to a coke in the service shop at Idaho Hall, Arlington Farms, a residence for women who work in the U.S. government for the duration of the war." The Zimba Kola people (as well as the Coca-Cola Co., whose logo is barely visible above the machine) would probably be pained to see their products referred to as lowercase-generic "coke." Photo by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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The reflections of the couple on the shiny vending machine surface are a treat. Esther Bubley is our favorite slice-of-life photographer.

Arlington Hall

This is, no doubt, part of the Arlington Hall complex that would ultimately move to Fort Meade as the National Security Agency.

[Actually, it's not. - Dave]

Me bad! Me Wrong!


Note the "bi-swing" back on the PFC's blouse. This was an option for officers of any branch (who were required to purchase their own uniforms) but for enlisted personnel, who were issued theirs from government stocks, generally restricted to cavalry and other horse mounted personnel.

I remember those soda machines!

They would often dispense the product first, then the cup.


There are some real artifacts in this photo. For one, the "coke" machine dispenses fountain drinks into a cup, rather than cans or bottles. I vaguely recall using similar coin-op machines when I was a kid in the 1960s but haven't seen one since. And on the shelf is a display of V-Mail stationery. The wartime V-Mail system involved photographing the mail in the U.S., then shipping the negatives overseas where they were printed and sent on to the recipient.

[V-Mail could also be sent back home by military personnel overseas. -tterrace]


The girl has him entranced in conversation and her partner is picking his pocket.

"Lowercase-generic 'coke.' "

Except that in parts of the country, "coke" IS generic for any kind of soda.
"What do you want to drink?"
"What kind?"
"Root beer..."

What's in her left hand?

Maybe the remnants of a cone with something good from the ice cream box against the wall. Bet there's a metal scoop in water somewhere out of view. In those days, a generous scoop of ice cream was only a nickel. Make mine butter pecan, please.

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