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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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Silk Railroad: 1900

Silk Railroad: 1900

Circa 1900. "Sauquoit silk mill on Susquehanna River at Scranton, Pennsylvania." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Silk trains

This is the first photo I've seen for a destination for silk trains. The boxcars shown would be for finished silk. Incoming raw material from the Orient was shipped in baggage cars, with guards.

Raw silk, and silk cocoons, was prime business for railroads from the turn of the century into the '30's when airlines stole the business. The product was somewhat perishable, which by itself made it time sensitive, but was also extremely valuable and shipped at very high insurance premiums. The less time on any particular railroad, the more profitable it was because of lower insurance cost.

EVERYTING, including each railroads "crack" passenger trains got out of the way of a silk train. Section crews would "spike" switches ahead of a silk train to make the track more secure. Crews were handpicked.

A ship coming into a west coast port would immediately trans load into baggage cars, and the doors nailed shut. All of the northern transcontinental railroads, and Canadian railroads vied for this business.

My, How You Have Grown!

What a difference a few years can make! Article from The Scranton Republican Tuesday, December 8, 1891.

string of boxcars

Delaware Lackawanna & Western, Central Railroad of NJ and Lehigh Valley predominate, with one from Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, another from Delaware & Hudson, and the light-colored one whose identity I can't make out (possibly New York Central & Hudson River, they had light grey cars.) Note how the cars have a variety of heights, even those from the same railroad. (The 3 CNJ cars are easy to spot with their 'bullseye' herald.)

And if I'm not mistaken, the left-most car is pushed up onto the mound of dirt that is the end-of-track bumper.

Not the Susquehanna

Pretty sure DPC mislabeled the image. This mill seems to have been along the Lackawanna (the Susquehanna doesn't go by Scranton). The mill was at the end of Fig Street in Scranton. The mill can seen in 1992 aerial photographs but is gone a few years later.

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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