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Wee Lads: 1910

Wee Lads: 1910

May 1910. "Noon hour at Obear-Nestor Glass Co., East St. Louis, Illinois. Names of the smallest boys are: Walter Kohler, 981 N. 18th Street; Walter Riley, 918 N. 17th Street; Will Convery, 1828 Natalie Avenue; Clifford Matheny, 1927 Summit Avenue. All employed at the glassworks." Photo by Lewis Hine. View full size.


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To Trousers from Breeches, the Long and Short of It

My grandfather, born in 1906, once shared with me how excited he was in 1920 when he entered high school at Wolcott, Indiana. He explained to me that in those days the boys wore knickers, or what he called "knee britches", until high school when they began wearing full-length trousers.

I imagine how proud some of those young men must have been striding up and down the high school halls in their trousers, having "grown out" of their long stockings and knickers!

[My guess is that all these boys have already left school, never to return. -tterrace]

"I've known him since he was in short pants"

And now I completely understand that saying.

Bottles galore

Old bottles sites inform me that the Obear-Nester Company made bottles from 1894 to 1978, both at this plant and in Kansas City, Mo.

At least they all wear shoes

Considerung what they are working with, this might be considered to a boon.

Although high shaft leather boots may not be ideal in a glass works.

In the small artisan size glass works all over Europe many artisans are actually wearing slippers. The only trade where slippers are not only acceptable to the local versions of the OSHA, but actually mandated by them. That way the glass blower can quickly pull his or her foot out of the slipper when a blob of molten glass inadvertently drops on it. Of course those slippers also have steel caps.

Interesting faces

These kids emit a lot of personality with their sideways and or backward hats (who said it was a recent fad?) and complex expressions. The boy on the extreme right with the impish grin, resting his arm on another's shoulder, plus the rakish flipped brim on his hat, is reminiscent of James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy". They look pretty happy in spite of having to become working adults at such a tender age.


Does anyone know what causes the appearance (at full size) of the boys looking almost cut out and added to the background? It's especially noticeable with the boys on the right. Is it just a incidental result of lighting or focus? I have seen this on other older photos as well, ones with no reason to actually manipulate the photo.

[Mainly due to the illumination coming from the side and back casting highlights on the edges of their clothing and faces. Their obviously unaltered shadows show they were all standing exactly where they appear to be. -tterrace]

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