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Three's Company: 1940

Three's Company: 1940

December 1940. "Construction workers at Hercules powder plant in their room in boardinghouse. Radford, Virginia." Acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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A jar of peaches maybe?

Yet no bowl or spoon to eat it with. My grandmother canned spiced peaches that we would eat only on holidays.

Employee 3803

The "campaign button" that Wally mentioned in the first comment is an employee ID badge. I remember that my father who worked in a factory office had something similar.


The ceramic chicken candy dishes stir long-forgotten memories. Haven't seen those in 50 years.

Mrs. Pritchard took one look at his pants

And gave him the room with a sewing machine.

As the twig is bent ...

Our trees were in service every Yuletide for decades, but even by 1976 they were in better shape. But then they never had to move between boardinghouses.

Round plate

It’s the cover for a stovepipe hole. I remember that plate from a long-ago place I lived. It was similarly ornamented, with a floral motif.

Round plate on the wall

Covers the opening for the stovepipe. While this is 1940, the photo on the upper right is of a young lady from about 1927 or 1928.

Above his head

I've heard it be known as a thimble. It's used to block the flue pipe of a stove at the wall. Usually like a tin pie plate, this one's a bit more fancy.

Round Plate

My guess is a 'flue cover' the plate over a stovepipe chimney port. Looks like one anyway...

Please, do tell!

I'm "older people" and I don't know what the plate is for.

They clean up nicely

We've seen several Vachon photos of the eighteen workers living in Mrs. Pritchard's boardinghouse in Radford. Neat, clean, and orderly. The landlady had rules, and they had decorum.

Did Vachon take any photos of the men after (or at) their work and before they got themselves clean and smart?


Did the guys go all out with the Christmas decorations this year?
Is that a campaign button on the man on the right?
How many younger people know what that round plate of the wall above his head is for?
Are those home-canned peaches in the jar?
Also of note: the room came furnished with a sewing machine.

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