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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Gamers: 1950

Gamers: 1950

June 6, 1950. Pembroke, Ontario. "Vis-O-Matic department store." A variation on mail-order shopping, the Vis-O-Matic system used color slides to display merchandise to potential customers, with orders placed by Teletype and delivered to your door. Photo by Bernard Hoffman, Life image archive. View full size.

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More on QUBE

Long before the Internet as we know it, early cable television was supposed to become interactive and viewers in some trial locations (apparently Columbus, Ohio was one) could respond to queries from the broadcaster on a variety of topics and those responses would be tabulated for whatever purpose said broadcaster chose. QUBE was shortlived since cabled television networks reached precious few viewers in those days.

Finally Canadian pictures

I would love to see more from Canada.

Reminds me of QUBE

On the 1980 TV series "Speak Up America," co-host Marjoe Gortner would say that viewers in Columbus Ohio could submit their opinions using the "QUBE system" (whatever that was.)

Amazon Beta

40+ years before the advent of modern online shopping. Who'd have thought?


Didn't Bill Bryson mention this in his book about growing up in Iowa in the '50s?

And if you haven't read "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," or better yet, listened to it on a road trip ... well, what are you waiting for? It's amazing!)

[As far as I can tell, Vis-O-Matic never made it out of Ontario. - Dave]

Ashtray joystick

You used to be able to smoke everywhere. Chairs used to acknowledge this fact.


Is this the first Canadian picture you've had??? Woo!

Ahh, the days of common sense...

Remember those days... Playing with mercury in science class, lawn darts, candy cigarettes, the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, the Johnny Reb 30-inch authentic Civil War cannon.

Oh, my--the danger!

That ring toss board has exposed metal pegs! No rubber tips! No 17 pages of warnings! HowEVER did these children survive?!? Oh yeah, we used common sense when we were playing! But watch out--the parents of these boys just might have been lurking in the corner, waiting to draft their frivolous lawsuit!


Darn, I thought this was a Nintendo Wii!

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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