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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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Home Entertainment: 1917

Home Entertainment: 1917

Washington, D.C., circa 1917. A Victrola talking machine on the delivery wagon at the Woodward & Lothrop department store. Harris & Ewing. View full size.

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Top Ship Only

Yes, I am sure that the 'peaked' cross-bracing at the top was to insure that no other crates were put on top at any point during shipment. I've seen other furniture crates built this way to circumvent the damaging force of something on top bouncing (horse drawn or hard rubber auto tires.) The crate was designed to protect from side to side damage but could not support the weight of other freight on top without possible crushing, which would almost certainly damage the contents. Gravity, while useful to most of us is quite a destructive force during shipping.

The Laurel and Hardy Transfer Company

Shades of "The Music Box" (1932) in which Stan and Ollie have trouble delivering a piano from their horse-drawn wagon, proudly emblazoned "The Laurel and Hardy Transfer Company, Foundered 1932, Tall Oaks from Tiny Acorns Grow"

Do Not Stack

Once in a blue moon Victrola crates come up for auction, and all the ones I've seen have the curious cross brace covering the top panel.

I've always suspected that they were there to keep shippers from stacking the crates. Victrolas are very heavy, and I doubt stacked crates would survive shipment.

Freight technology and registrations

Something that always catches my eye on old photos like this is the fact that you can see horse-drawn vehicles sharing the streets amicably with the new-fangled automobile, though evidently the older method of transportation was giving way to the new technological marvel by this time; there's only one wagon in this photo, while I can count at least 9 automobiles. Maybe the fact that it was the only vehicle big enough to take that crate vertically was the reason why it hadn't been discontinued yet.

Also, have you noticed that the wagon does not seem to have a license plate? Makes me wonder if horse-drawn wagons were registered at all, like the automobiles.

Bills of lading

Well into the 1960s and perhaps later, these Victrolas and other audio products (radios, phonographs, tape recorders etc.) would be listed on the shippers' bills of lading as "talking machines."

Open windows.

Its interesting to me that we have lost our connection to the street in our cities with inoperable windows. Back then you could open your window, get fresh air, and hear the sounds and smells of the street (for good or bad).

Seems like now our buildings have become blank facades with no life to them. Not like back then anyways.

The buildings seem more alive to me back then. That same buildings, today, would probably seem just a bit more sterile (albeit wonderful architecture!)

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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