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Office Hours: 1911

Office Hours: 1911

        UPDATE: Click here for Part 2.

May 22, 1911. "Buhl Stamping Co., Detroit, Mich. Office from inside." Manufacturer of milk cans and tubular lanterns. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Sexual Tension, 1911 Style

You can almost cut it with a knife.

Perfect Milk Cans

Don't buy imitations ...

No private calls here

Phones in 1911 were hardwired, usually to a wall. I bet this phone was hardwired to the baseboard of the counter and the cord you see is about all the cord there was. The phone was likely put there so people on either side of the counter could use it. With the display in the corner this looks like where orders were placed for milk cans, tubular lanterns, and whatever is on display.

The room looks new, no wear and tear. Some art on the walls would be nice. It would be interesting to see some avant garde photos of milk cans and tubular lanterns. The woman and the man in the bowler were aware their picture was being taken. They were probably told to not move.

The Paperless Office, Ahead of Schedule

Beginning in the 1970s, trend-spotters started predicting that office automation, especially desktop computers, was about to make office paper redundant. Every office, they promised, would soon look something like Buhl Stamping. Things didn't go as planned, and most offices seem to be as cluttered as ever, maybe worse.

"I told you . . .

. . . never to call me here." An early version of NSFW?

The light shades are very similar to one that has graced my dinette for 45 years. It is a Holophane Extended E-9 model. This photo shows the shade with a carbon filament light bulb.

Very nice and tidy office.

That's a very nice clean and modern-looking office for its time. The ceiling light fixtures still look very contemporary too. They could be for sale in 2022.

Time to move on.

Man, how I wish she could have quit the next day, with no notice, so she could work somewhere that didn't demand robotic organization, cleanliness, and fealty --

If looks could maim

Hold the phone! Secretary Ratched, prim but formidable in her shirtwaist, feet planted as if more than ready for battle, has locked furious eyes with Mister Bowler Hat lounging across the room beyond the counter where Young Whippersnapper is malingering over a convo with -- who? Some floozy he hopes to walk out with that evening? His body language does not convey the gravitas common to a business call. Doesn't Junior have some seatwork of his own to do anyway, or does the vacant desk belong to the cute typist who has gone to lunch? At any rate, once that receiver is replaced, somebody's gonna hear a little something something from somebody else. And watch your back for the rest of the week, sonny boy.

Their eyes locked ...

... and their Master Plan was hatched!

A lot going on

Interesting that the conversation on the phone had to be taken away from the desk and perhaps out of earshot. But what seems to be more telling is the body language and facial expressions of the two people sitting.

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