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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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Raft Warehouse: 1943

Raft Warehouse: 1943

March 1943. "New Orleans, Louisiana. Loading a rubber raft onto a truck at the terminal of Associated Transport Company." Medium format negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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I'm reading the book "Unbroken"

about three downed B-24 fliers (eventually two) who floated in the Pacific for 47 days before being captured by the Japanese. They constantly had to fend off shark attacks. That raft with the floor suspended by ropes is for sharks, similar to browsing the butcher shop meat case. I doubt it was very popular with shipwreck survivors.

"Do Not Paint"

Well that explains why those things always looked so scruffy.

War Production

New Orleans was a major center of war production in WWII including Higgins Boats landing craft and on the South Bank at Avondale, tug boats, destroyers and destroyer escorts. Perhaps the life rafts are headed for new ships under construction and the Camels to a more immediate use.

More on the raft

I didn't know this before but looking at the raft in particular in detail made me do some research. Evidently the type is made from Balsa wood wrapped in canvas. It has a wood floor that suspends from the ropes. I supposed that's a bit more stable than the inflatable type though probably a lot less comfortable over time.

Canvas float

I believe that is a Carley float --a kapok or cork ring covered with canvas.

Probably a common raft

but it closely resembles the type used on PT Boats in the war, especially as used on the Higgins built there in New Orleans.

Smokes but no fire

That's a serious amount of cigarettes, in some serious crates back there - 500 packs of 20 smokes each!

500 PKGS CAMEL 20's

At least they'll have plenty of cigs on the raft.

(Now where's that dry match?)


At least that many Camel cigarettes. We see 3 stacks by 6 crates high = 18 x 10,000 cigs per crate.

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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