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Trusses & Rubber Goods: 1921

Trusses & Rubber Goods: 1921

Washington, 1921. "People's Drug Store, 929 Seventh Street N.W., exterior." The scene at Mass and Seventh, evidently the hernia capital of our nation's capital. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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This is a shot of the same corner from the same perspective (south on 7th Street, NW from Massachusetts Avenue) taken in April of 2006. As noted by Navy Seabee, the domed building remains as does the Grogan's Furniture building further down the street.


My guess is that the average worker had to push, pull, and lift heavier stuff than today's workers.

Dr. Smathers has gas

He's advertising painless extractions with gas. I'm looking at all the people in the photo and wondering, Just how much discomfort were people hiding back then if they were needing all those trusses? And were there dentists who didn't use gas? Heaven help those souls.

This building appears to be history

But neighbor is still there. Note the domed tower on the far end of People's. Here's the view from the corner down the street.

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Battle of the Bulge

Hernias may not have been more common, but I suspect the treatments were a lot more primitive than the current methods like laparoscopy.

In Truss We Got

Hernia repair surgery probably wasn't as much of an option back then as it is now.


I know you can still buy a truss, but what was the deal back then? I've seen ads for them in just about every period newspaper I've looked at, in addition to them being touted on the front of drugstores. Were hernias that much more of a problem then than they are today?

Coca-Cola 5¢

Coke for a nickel. In New York State, that's deposit on the container, in Michigan it's a dime.

A Sign of the Times

Case in point of why cities adopt sign ordinances. Somewhere underneath all of that is a very nice looking building. Still, it is fun to look at.

Cigar Box

This is such a neat picture; I always like the ones where you can look and look and find tons of cool detail (like cab stands and fifteen cent root beer!). I am wondering what the wooden box on the left might be. Could they just have tossed out a crate for the garbage collectors, or was it perhaps purposely left?

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