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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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Extra Fancy: 1910

Extra Fancy: 1910

More delectables at the Edw. Neumann grocery in Detroit's Broadway Market circa 1910. 8x10 glass plate negative, Detroit Publishing. Superjumbo full size. Note the artfully arranged pickle slices in the big apothecary jar to the left.

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Reading Terminal Market

This reminds me of the Reading Market in downtown Philadelphia, PA located under what were the commuter train platforms. A number of the vendors there have been on site for many years. There is a Mennonite deli there that makes the best subs that I have had.

Beach Cliff Sardines

The Beach Cliff brand of sardines was indeed packaged in Prospect Harbor, Maine, for over 70 years. The cannery was locally known as the Stinson Seafood plant, and was recently sold (2010). The plant is being changed to process lobster under new ownership, but has not restarted operations yet.

Sardine brands

There are only a couple sardine cans I can identify in the lower left of the photo: the top right can is King Oscar; just to the left of it is Beach Cliff. I think the 3rd from the right top row can may not be sardines, but herring. Those three are still available in stores today, and I believe the Beach Cliff were packaged in my home state of Maine.

Now THAT'S branding!

I work at an ad agency and I just showed the upper left corner of the large image to one of the copywriters. I said "This is a grocery store from 1910. Quick! Who makes those products?" And of course he knew it was Heinz. Almost 100 years and their brand is immediately recognizable.


There seems to be a lot of variety here but the food looks quite scary. I wonder what most of it is. Makes you thankful for today's food production and safety.

First self-serve grocery store

The first self-serve grocery store was the Piggly Wiggly store on 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis, Tennessee. It opened on September 6th, 1916 some six years after our photo above was taken.

More at Piggly Wiggly's web page.


Just wondering how fast the inventory turnover was. There's quite a lot of 'fresh' packaged/canned meat and fish products stocked, and a good portion of them seem to be only for display rather than sale (buried inside cabinets as they are).

Were there "sell by" dates back then, if not, how much product was already 'spoiled' by the time it was finally purchased?

[This is before grocery stores were self-service -- before markets became "super-markets." Generally speaking, you had to ask the man behind the counter for whatever you wanted: "Sam, I'd like a pound of butter, five-pound bag of flour and a pound of coffee." - Dave]

And the award goes to...

I hereby nominate this picture as the coolest picture of all time. WOW.


I can barely read the label on the big jar, but it looks like the rectangular label says "Preserved With" and the Heinz label below it says "White Premium Table Vinegar." So it really could be pickled anything.

[Including sliced pickled cucumbers -- pickles -- as we see below. - Dave]

Lamb's tongue

One doesn't see lamb's tongues in jars every day (in front of the Yacht Club salmon).

You say potato

All I see is a dust collecting nightmare.

Neumann Grocery

What a fantastic store! The cabinetry alone is mind-boggling. Someone did a really good job designing and building the display cabinets and shelving. The only thing that seems to be missing is a rolling ladder to retrieve items from the upper shelves. Maybe it's out of sight.

Those jumbo Heinz apothecary-type jars are spectacular. Besides Heinz 57, did you notice how many brands of sardines they have (bottom left)?


I love it. I am pretty sure that jar says pickles and not olives. It looks like pickles cut into disks.

[You are right! I changed the caption, thanks. - Dave]

Heinz 57

They really DO have 57 varieties -- look at all those Heinz products. Mmmm, mincemeat.

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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