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Hello In There: 1920

Hello In There: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Merchants Bank, G Street N.W." What looks at first like a fairly desolate street scene turns out to have a number of players. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Multigraph had a long history

The American Multigraph Company was eventually folded into the Addressograph company, which also provided equipment for mass-addressing of envelopes, brochures, etc. The company was long known as Addressograph-Multigraph (AM), and also as Addressograph-Multilith. They bought the Varityper composing device and existed until the advent of desktop publishing as one of the premier manufacturers of typesetting equipment, AM Varityper.

Something Society

Can anyone determine what the writing on the third-floor window of the building on the left reads? It looks like: Instructive Visitin***** Society.


Mystery Car

It's a Dodge -- circa 1919 or 1920.

That's the standard, albeit skinny, width for the front tires on the 'T Truck at right. The back axle of the truck seems to be a replacement -- solid rubber tires, different suspension, etc.

The Middle Car is...

It seems to be a 1919 Dodge.

"1919 DODGE: From 1916 to 1923, Dodge was built on a 114-inch wheelbase. Until 1919, little change in appearance took place. In March of that year, a four­door enclosed sedan was introduced into the Dodge line. "

Thanks to :

The Merchants Bank

Washington Post, Apr 23, 1918

Bank to Purchase 5-Story Building

The Merchants Bank, it is understood, has virtually closed a deal for the purchase of the five-story building at 1413 G street, immediately adjoining the building at 1415 G street, which it recently acquired and which it was planned to remodel to meet the needs of a banking house.

President P.A. Drury, it is reported, on good authority, has decided to locate his bank in the building at 1413 instead of 1415 as originally planned, and will remodel this building instead. The bank will retain possession of both buildings, and will lease the first floor of 1415 for stores, which will open on the arcade which passes between the two properties. The rooms of the upper stories of the two buildings already are connected. The bank will use as much of the upper stories as may be required to meet its needs, and will lease the rest as offices.

Name That Car

OK guys, the first car on our left is definitely a Ford Model T (probably a '17 or '18 touring), the truck is also a T (or a TT?), but what is the middle one?

I always find it fascinating to see what these cars really looked like in real time instead of restored cars or survivors.

Philatelic scrutiny

The posture of the customer (he's wearing a hat, so I'm presuming) in Harry B. Mason's window leads me to believe he's scrutinizing a stamp album rather than an insurance policy. Then again, perhaps he just spotted the fine print.

Cleveland in Washington

Cleveland motorbike with an old-school kickstand. Awesome!

Strange at best

Okay, I see the three legged ghost in front of the milliner and the secretary on the second floor. But what really catches my eye are a few other things. Like the coffin lining drapes in the bank windows -- sort of a portent of the future? And the extremely narrow front tire on the truck for rent. Last but not least, the window dresser of the tailor was ahead of their time. In the twenties things seemed so ornate compared to the stark plainness of today but this one was "dead" on. I've seen photos labeled "creepy" here before, but this one gets my vote.

American Multigraph Sales Company

I couldn't figure out what a multigraph was, so I looked it up:


"1902 - American Multigraph Sales Co. introduces Gammeter Multigraphs. These were used to mass produce form letters."

Horsepower Blankets

Two more to add to the assortment of engine-warmers seen here on Shorpy.

American Multi-what?

From - referencing December 12, 1903:

"The American Multigraph Sales Company of Cleveland, Ohio begins manufacturing the Multigraph duplicating machine, the first commercially successful device to simplify the printing process. It was patented on March 10, 1903 by inventor, Harry C. Gammeter, a typewriter salesman. Consisting of a metal drum with vertical channels running across it, it allows laymen to arrange moveable type with a retaining foot into the channels to roll out professionally lettered solicitation letters."

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