Tag Archives: workers

Turn of the century photo studio crew

Photo Gallery crew. RPPC. Private Collection.

Photo Gallery crew. RPPC. Private Collection.

This looks to be a photo of a photographer’s crew posing inside their photo gallery, as the door reveals. What’s interesting too is the format of the picture. This may be an early example of real photo postcards. The dimensions and round edges are similar to a cabinet card but the photo was printed on real photo postcard paper so it’s flimsier. Maybe the photographer was exploring the new format with this picture. I’d date it to around 1895-1905.

I also think this room served several purposes. It was used to show off their work on the walls, but with the piano against the wall it could have been a waiting room as well as a room used for social events. By the piano there’s a beautiful profile portrait of a woman I wish I could see better!

Someone also took the time to identify everyone on this picture, starting from left to right. I digitally took the pencil numbers out from above their heads but here goes the list:

names of crew members.

names of crew members.

I haven’t researched the names yet, but I hope to do so. Maybe I can find out what studio this was, or at the very least in what city it was located.

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Hauntingly soulful

The Christ-like farmer. Tintype. Private Collection.

The contemplative worker. Tintype. Private Collection.

This tintype is interesting. It came into a home cut and sewn simple leather frame and is a little over 3.5″ x 4″ (a bit larger than a quarter plate). The seller who does not specialize in vintage pictures didn’t know if it is a repro or not, only that it came from an estate. I was ready to accept the gamble. To my relief (and joy) it is neither new or a reproduction: this photograph has marks from the leather mat bleeding onto the sides and shows the usual scuffs of vintage tintypes. Also it has no dot matrix typical of repros.

Yes, I opened the sleeve from the bottom.

But I can’t date it. This portrait could have been taken anytime between 1890-1960 (using the original method) but I’m thinking 1910s-1920s for some reason. I don’t think it is more recent than around the 60s though; it takes decades to have such side marks from the frame. Yes, that’s quite the window! In a way I like the timelessness of it. I wish I could make out what’s behind him. It looks like some type of construction. There is few if any clue I can use. While dress shirts became the norm for suits around WWI, they were already in use by blue collars much before that and are still in use.  The hair could be from anytime and I don’t know enough of overalls “fashion” (lol). If anyone wishes to chime in on dating this tintype, please do!

edit: after talking with some experts on Facebook, this tintype was most likely taken in the 1970s! 

The back is black and pristine, mostly because this tintype was put in that sleeve right after it was made. But the scuffs on the front and the type of sleeve lead me to want to believe a person may have carried the portrait on themselves for a while.

His eyes look haunting on his soiled face. And with his long hair, this young worker’s expression reminds me of depictions of Christ in art (minus the beard). He’s mesmerizing; there’s depth, tiredness and maybe sadness. I see him being late teens and still growing, his neck awkwardly too long. He reminds me of the rural worker.


Candid portrait of young rural worker

Snapshot of worker in field. Private Collection.

4.5″ x 6″ snapshot of young rural worker. Private Collection.

I love this candid portrait. Of course I tend to say this about every picture in my collection, but this young worker was captured on a field, his clothes tattered and his hair greasy, and I doubt it was from pomade…yet in his humanity he’s absolutely gorgeous.


Waiting for the job to get done

RPPC. Private Collection.

1910s worker with anvil and hammer. RPPC. Private Collection.

The gent to the right with his pipe in mouth is IDed as Ed Herndon, the handsome worker with the hammer and anvil is unfortunately not. His hands are darker, from the soothe of burning coal? Oh, ladies broke things on purpose with this one. ;)

Ed has a pose I find humorous because it makes him look so impatient. This was taken in the American countryside of the 1910s with an apple orchard in the back, or some field of other fruit trees.

RPPC: AZO 1904-1918

Creative Commons License


Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!

18 brewers by kegs. RPPC. Private Collection.

1910s group of 18 American brewers. RPPC. Private Collection.

The flag with the offset stars tells us this picture was most likely taken before July 1912.

This is a great picture of a large group of American brewers holding mugs of dark beer in their hands. There’s so much to look at here. It’s safe to say they enjoyed their product!

RPPC: AZO 1904-1918


The same bridge construction crew on two RPPCs

Finding pictures like this really makes my day. All 13 of these bridge workers are on both RPPCs. I played a game of who’s who and recognized 8 of them for sure.

On the second, two more men in suits are with them, perhaps supervisors. On that one I’m not sure what the workers are sitting on, but it looks like a pressurized machine with some kind of belt.

I find it fascinating to see the faces of those who built those bridges we still cross today; ‘floppy hats and blue collars’ (and Carnegie steel). If by extreme luck I find out what bridge this is I will update this post. It may have been built to let a railroad pass through.

RPPC: AZO triangles. 1904-1918. Private collection.


1890s Swedish worker pals having a beer

Swedish workers. CDV. Private Collection.

Swedish workers. CDV. Private Collection.

Three Swedish working class young men holding a dark beer in their hand. The boy on the right looks a little stiff. They didn’t change for the photo, wearing their day to day clothes, shirts still dirty with well used shoes.

swedish-workers-beer-back

Photographer: Swante Hoeger. Stromstad. Sweden.


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