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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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Off the Rails: 1925

Off the Rails: 1925

Dec. 11, 1925. Washington, D.C. "J.N. Swartzell with miniature railroad." Finally we see the man behind the trains. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

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The item in his right hand is a pattern (likely made from wood) for the locomotive boiler. Note the round extensions sticking out either end. These are "core prints" that locate a inner piece of the mold that makes a hollow part when cast. More than likely the locomotive boiler was cast in brass or bronze in a sand mold.


The more I see of this fellow and his work the curiouser and curiouser
become. I'd love to see his machine shop and I wonder if he cast parts
himself before machining.


To judge from the spatters on his shirt, it looks like it was raining when the picture was taken. If so, Mr. Swartzell is probably looking a little uncomfortable because he wants to get his engines back indoors where it is dry.

Railroad Tie

Can't have those locomotives running over your neckwear.

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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