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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Throwback Sundae: 1920

Throwback Sundae: 1920

Washington, D.C,, circa 1920. "People's Drug Store, soda fountain, 11th & G Streets." Another look at PDS #7, also seen here, here and here. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Big fan of these photos!

Also a big fan of the fans in these photos. It appears that the ceiling fan designs have not changed much over the past 95 years!

Butterfat Minimum

The legal butterfat minimum was 3.5% which is about what is in whole milk today. Skim milk wasn't sold for human consumption until after WWII

High Butterfat and Higher Cocoa

I've often wondered these eight years and four weeks I've been a Shorpy "member" perusing the wares in photos of general stores, groceries, druggists, pharmacies, apothecaries, purveyors of dry goods and sundries, 5 and dimes, and soda fountains, why they stack their goods so darned high on the shelves.

I realize floor space is scare and expensive, but it seems to me the high shelves may also be a deterrent to shoplifters or a loss prevention measure to prevent breakage. Perhaps in the days before "self-serve" convenience, the clerks earned their wages by doing the reaching.

In this photo, above the sign extolling the butterfattery goodness of their sundaes there appears to be stacks of Cadbury powdered cocoa and bottles and jars of chocolate syrup. Maybe these are ingredients for the exclusive use of the soda jerks and are not intended for sale to the public.

The crowd-sourced wisdom of sharp-eyed Shorpyites never ceases to amaze me. Let the conjecturing begin.

Goober Pea


Milk with butter fat minimum instead of maximum. Another reason I know I was born 100 years too late.

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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