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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Kodachrome Goes to War: 1942

Kodachrome Goes to War: 1942

October 1942. "Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training methods. Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California." Skipping ahead to 2009, and the end of an era: Today Kodak announced that, after 74 colorful years, it will stop making Kodachrome film. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer, Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
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With all the controversy surrounding the use of the computer to colorize black and white images, I thought I'd do the opposite. Face it, WWII and color just don't seem right.

I'm kidding....

"Oil lines"

The "oil lines" of concern to the first commenter are actually spark plug leads. Each cylinder has two spark plugs, fired by separate magnetos.

I was also taken with the fact that this pretty girl is no mere model.

Keep your heads down!

Those external cylinder head oil pipes look very vulnerable to me. They are critical to the engine's operation yet in use they'd be hiding behind a thin aluminium sheet. Meanwhile the baddies would be firing all sorts of assorted sharp pieces of ironmongery in their direction.

What's on the clipboard?

Nice to see the details on the shipping tag; can someone enlarge the clipboard at center-left, in case there's anything of interest on it?

[Alas, it is out of focus. - Dave]

What type engine

I wondered what engine this was and a quick photo search shows this as a R-1830. Long Beach built C-47 cargo planes and they used this type engine.

Definitely the real deal

If there is any question as to this young lady being just a publicity model or the real-deal mechanic, look closely at her fingernails. The dirty saddle shoes could be a set-up with a model, but no gal I know that only poses as camera candy would have those fingernails! Definitely a real engine assembly worker.


As a photographer all of my working life, this is a very sad but not unexpected day. I was too young to be shooting in the era where you could shoot 4x5 Kodachrome. That's one of the things I love about this site. I shot quite a bit of it when it came back briefly to the medium format world in the mid-80s. I've come very close to selling my 4x5 camera given the dearth of emulsions still available but the images on this site keep me in the game, so to speak.

She and He

She's cute. He, on the other hand, is hottimus maximus. Hats off to Kodachrome. Such beautiful, limpid color.


What a grand picture; it has sort of a "heightened" look, for lack of a better word. Lovely as Technicolor.

(And I'd say the mechanic on the right is pretty cute, too.)

Hubba Hubba

That is one gorgeous airplane mechanic. (Yes, wisenheimers, I'm talking about the one on the left.)

Somebody's gotta say it

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day...
Momma, don't take my Kodachrome away.

Farewell, My Lovely!

My first job out of college in 1973 was as a Kodachrome Quality Control Chemist at Berkey Photo in New York. It was an incredibly complex process that got incredibly beautiful results.

As Mark Twain said of the Mississippi steamboat: "So short a life for so magnificent a creature."

Awesome Kodachrome, so long..

Nothing is as sexy as a woman with a wrench in her hand!


Saddle shoes!

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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