Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Roundhouse Crew

The crew of railroad roundhouse workers took a break one day to pose for a group photo. The print was found in an antique store outside of Chicago, Ill, so presumably it was taken at one of the several area roundhouses.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Posing on the Tankhouse

Of all the vintage family-on-the-farm photographic portraits that I've seen, this has to be the most unusual and original posing.

Why climb all the way up there - and take a little child - when you're wearing a full-length dress like that?
Don't miss the little dog hiding in the shadows
From the shape of the photographer's shadow, I'm guessing it was a woman

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Surf Riding

"Let's go surfin' now, everyone's learning how..."  The Beach Boys and their surf-centered music of the '60s might have helped popularize the sport, but surfing, or surf riding, was a celebrated local pastime long beforehand. Surfing had been practiced by Hawai'ians for hundreds of years, and as the pre-WWII military buildup on Oahu took place in the 1930s, many a young soldier and sailor - and their girls - took to the waves on their time off, resulting in scenes like this one, probably from the late 1930s or the very early '40s, before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the early days, surf boards were wooden beheamoths up to 16 feet long and weighing from 125 to as much as 150 pounds. In 1926, famed surfer Tom Blake developed the hollow redwood board which cut the weight to 100 pounds or under, and in the 1930s began to be mass-produced. Still, compared to the scientifically-engineered composite boards of today, they were massive. 

Big thanks to Debbie at for the help in dating the swimsuits!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our House - 9

As soon as I saw this photo in a pile in an antique store, my eyes popped...such amazing brickwork! They certainly don't build houses like this today.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Lake Steamer Cleveland

Like last week's photo, this small albumen photograph is very faded. A trip through Photoshop, though, brings out a lot of details, and reveals a crowded lake steamer named the Cleveland.

The image had originally been recorded on a glass plate negative, which was damaged (you can see the marks of this next to the man standing on the upper deck bow), suggesting that it had been handled repeatedly. Could this have been a "stock" photo of the steamer, printed in bulk, with the small prints sold as souvenirs?

Faded or Photoshopped, sometimes it's easy to forget that, for the folks on that boat, it was a brilliant, sunny day with bright blue skies, green hills in the background and the party was just getting started!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Which Brookfield School?

All sorts of confusion can occur when there are two towns with the same name in a state. Take Ohio and the Brookfield Townships: there is one in Trumbull County, and another in Noble County. So when a vintage photo shows up of the 1st and 2nd grades from Brookfield, which one is it?

The original photo is extremely faded, this is an enhanced version.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hats and Muscle Shirts

In the 1900s, people almost always dressed formally, and most in this photo are so dressed, including women with spectacular hats...but then there are a few men in muscle shirts. This is probably a church outing or picnic, with games and activities.