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Detroit Deli: 1912

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1912. "Edelweiss Cafe, delicatessen room." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1912. "Edelweiss Cafe, delicatessen room." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Cutting Edge

That slicer appears to be a Peerless, I think it is a model produced by Merkel, the inventor of the auto-slicer. Everything was driven by one hand crank, later retro-fitted with a small eletric motor. Amazing piece of engineering.

Looks Like

Blood pudding on the lower shelf. One of my favorite things to have with eggs.

I would love to eat here!

It is so spotlessly clean. I love it! It was so interesting to go with my grandma to single-item stores: bakeries, butcher shops, greengrocers. The people were cordial and they always gave me samples or candy. They anticipated Grandma's needs and tucked in something special for me. It was a much simpler time, I miss it. Thanks to Shorpy I can always go back.

Mysterious sticks and hooks

On the back wall there is a rack with sticks that have hooks on them. What is this for? It looks like the sticks can be taken off the rack. There are stops that keep the sticks from being pushed too far back. The hooks look like they have sharp points, too.

I wonder

That cash register might well be about ten years old in the photo, you suppose?

Maybe part of it is being electroplated here?


we are so overwhelmed with choices when we shop nowadays that the offerings seen here seem very sparse.

Tied Up

In my father's laundry store all the packages (or "bundles," as they were called) were tied with string. Dad could snap off the cord, when he was done, with one motion. I could never master it, I had to use a knife.

Deli Cabinets & More!

Seems that Wolf Sayer and Heller did more than make deli cabinets. Mr. Heller also had a keen eye for architecture-commissioning Frank Lloyd Wright to build Heller House.

No third hand required

I recall visiting a bakery that had some kind of box-tying pantograph device to handle the string.

Meticulously Clean

"Brown paper packages wrapped up with string, these are a few of my favorite things." As a young teen, I worked a part-time job in a bakery where pies,cakes and cupcakes were placed in a box and tied four ways with sturdy twine (that was hung up overhead) so the box could be carried by the twine. It was not easy to do it correctly (and doing it wrong could end in disaster). Crusty breads, hard rolls or crunchy, chewy rye was placed in brown paper bags. There were no plastic bags in the entire store.

Buy one new today

There's a slicer like this in my local Italian eatery in LA.

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