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Odd Man Out: 1942

Odd Man Out: 1942

March 13, 1942. "Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey. Lounge, to window. Voorhees, Walker, Foley & Smith, architects." You can call me ... lonely! Large-format acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Or contented introvert?

[Photographer: "Please sit over there to balance the composition." -tterrace]

Do we know what the poster says?

Hidden object

My eyes may be deceiving me but I spy what looks like a glass ashtray under the drapes to the right of the the ladies. I am assuming there may be another if behind the man in the darker suit.

[The two trays. -tterrace]


Love the very subtle Shorpy watermark in the windows.

And I think there may be an ashtray on the table at the far left. Bet the smoker has one on the windowsill behind him.

Don't pity the loner.

After all, this is Bell Labs. As we watch, he is deep in thought. Inventing something. Perfecting something. Helping the war effort.

Where did the ashes go?

Back in those days my dad would flick his cigarette ashes into the ample cuffs of his pants. He would stub out the butt on the sole of his shoe and stash it in his cuff until he could get rid of it. This consternated my mother no end.


A room that size needs at least half a dozen ashtrays.

Where's the ashtrays?

Looks like gray suit guy is the only one smoking, which seems a little unusual considering the era, but what's he doing with his ashes?

Way Ahead of Its Time

When I first looked at this photo, I thought it was something out of the 1960's. What an interesting choice of furniture for such a modern building.

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