Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teletype Operator

It is interesting to ponder the progress telecommunication has made in the last 150 years. We have gone from the telegraph all the way to the point that virtually everyone on earth is interconnected via cell phone. I find it interesting in traveling in Africa to see that people who have neither running water nor electricity have a cell phone. One of the steps along the way between the telegraph and the smartphone was the teletype. The teletype allowed an operator at one location to type on a keyboard, and that message be printed out at a different location. The technology was still very similar to the telegraph, but the teletype was like a typewriter and did not require the operator to know morse code.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Western Union Office Building

Today's picture shows the Western Union Building in New York. The picture was taken in 1912. Telegraphs  were the primary form of commercial communication at this time, so it was a very big and important business.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Messenger Boy

This is a picture from 1910 showing a Western Union Messenger boy. He was 14 years old, and had been working for 1 year. He was still in school, but worked from 8:00 to 12:00, and then attended school in the afternoon. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Western Union Messegner

Welcome to Western Union Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at historic pictures of this once great company, and the once important business of Telegrams. Back before the days of telephones and email, the only way to quickly get a message to someone was by telegram. You would go to a Western Union office, and a telegraph operator would take your message, and the message would be relayed to a Western Union office near the person you were trying to reach. The message would then be sent from that receiving office by messenger to the intended recipient. In cities, Western Union would employ large numbers of children and young men to deliver the telegrams by bicycle, horse, or any other imaginable means. Amazingly, telegrams could be sent all the way up until 2006, when the service was finally shut down. Now Western Union is in the business of doing money transfers. In particular, they are able to transfer money to foreign countries and to people who do not have bank accounts.

The picture above shows a 16 year old Western Union Messenger Boy in Montgomery, Alabama.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Street Tailor

We wrap up New Orleans Week with this picture of a Street Tailor. It was taken in 1935. It seems that sewing is rapidly becoming a lost art. It is funny, though, that in Africa street tailors are still a common sight. People set up pedal sewing machines on the street in town, and will do simple mending or hemming jobs for anyone who will bring them work.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Donkey Cart

New Orleans Week continues with this picture of a fruit market in the French Quarter. The picture was taken about 1900.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Milk Delivery

New Orleans Week continues with this fine picture of a Milk Delivery cart. The picture was taken in 1903.. It looks to me like the horse is a little on the thin side. I am not a horse expert, but it looks like his ribs are showing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Canal Street

Today's picture shows a view of Canal Street in New Orleans. The picture was taken in about 1900. You can see a statue of Henry Clay in the street. If I understand correctly, this statue of Clay is no longer on Canal Street, but now sits in Lafayette Square. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cane Fields

Today's picture shows the Sugar Cane fields outside of New Orleans. The picture was taken around 1890. I love the old steam locomotive. I am not sure why the train is stopped, but it has given us a chance to examine the amazing detail and engineering in these old locomotives.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Levee at New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans Week here at OPOD. We will spend the week looking at old scenes in and around New Orleans. We start with this picture of cotton being loaded onto steamboats for transport at the Levee in New Orleans. The picture was taken around 1890.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boating on the Tomoka

We finish up Everglades Week with this picture of a party boating on the Tomoka River. The picture was taken about 1890. It looks like the group has come ashore at a makeshift landing. You miss so much when you do not stop and zoom in on the picture. Notice the man on the right is holding an alligator .

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Silver Springs, Florida

I hope you all are enjoying these Florida Swamp pictures this week as much as I am. I think this is one of our  best series in recent memory. Today's picture is another great one on this theme. The picture was taken near Silver Springs, Florida. I love the old riverboats, and if you zoom in, you can see a steam locomotive and passenger train in the background. Would have loved to have been there!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Today's picture shows a riverboat coming to shore at Brown's Landing in Florida. The picture was taken about 1890. The guy in the hat looks like it might be the same guy in Saturday's picture. It was the same area at about the same time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Women Boating

Today's picture was taken on the Ocklawaha River near Silver Springs, Florida. We see two women in a row boat coming into the docks. The picture was taken in 1902.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tomoka River

Today we have a picture from about 1890, and it shows a boat on the Tomoka River coming into a landing. I really like the old style of this boat. With the smoke stack in the back, and the date on the picture, it is most  likely steam powered. Notice the woman in the front is carrying a rifle.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ferry on the Ocklawaha

We continue our exploration of the swamps of Florida with this picture from 1901. It shows an old ferry across the Ocklawaha River. I love this picture, and it looks like something from an old movie. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brown's Landing

Welcome to Everglades Week here at OPOD. We will spend the week looking around the swampland of Florida. I will admit that I have been to Florida quite a few times, but have never gotten back into the swamps. Hopefully we have some readers that can share some insight on the ins and outs of life in the everglades. Today's picture was taken on Rice Creek, near Brown's Landing. The picture was taken about 1890. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baling Hay

Country Life Week continues with this picture of a young man Baling Hay. After being cut, hay is fed through a machine that turns it into Bales. The bales are compact and can be transported and stored easier than loose hay. Back when I was growing up, bales were square, about 3 ft by 1 ft by 1 ft. They were stacked and stored in the barn, and used as feed in the winter time. Now, the big round bales are much more popular. The round bales are about 5 ft high and five foot across, and weigh over a thousand pounds. I am not sure why the big round bales became so popular, as to me it would seem they would be much harder to store in a barn.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Husked Corn

Today's picture comes from Maryland, and was taken in 1937. A farmer can be seen gathering up his husked corn to bring in. The corn appears to be dried already, so I wonder if the corn was left on the stalks in the field to dry.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farm Boy

Today's picture shows a Farm Boy. The picture was taken in 1942 in Arizona. I wonder what ever became of this young man.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeding Goats

Today's picture shows a man feeding goats on a farm in Maryland. I am not sure about Maryland, but in Texas we typically do not wear a tie when we feed the goats, but that might just be a regional thing. The picture was taken in 1919.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Milking Cow

To me, this picture is so interesting that it almost looks fake, like it is out of a movie or something. But, in fact, it is a real picture taken in 1900 showing two girls milking a cow. It looks like the family lives in the mountains in a log cabin with a sod roof. The interesting thing is how rugged the conditions look, yet how neatly dressed the kids are. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Farm Wife

Country Life continues today with this iconic image of a Farm Wife. The picture was taken in the 1930's, during the great depression. Funny how society today would not view this woman as attractive for the most part, but in the picture, she exudes virtue. She is a worker, and I am sure a wonderful mother and wife. Funny how much what we value has changed.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Country Life

Welcome to Country Life Week here at OPOD. We will be examining pictures of rural lifestyles in a time when life was less hectic. My premise is that the further you get from the country, the higher your standard of living, but the lower your quality of life. Country Life is the Good Life! Your thoughts?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Motorcycle Race

Wow, Going Fast Week really went fast, and we wrap the week up with this fine vintage photograph of a motorcycle racer. The picture was taken in 1913. I find the helmet interesting . . . it is better than nothing, but worry that it would offer little real protection in a crash. Ah yes, back in the days when risk takers were allowed to take risks!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Horse Race

Going Fast Week is going fast . . . I can not believe it is already Wednesday. In any event, today's picture shows a horse race in the Middle East. The picture was taken near Beersheba. That would have been an exciting event to watch.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Indianapolis 500

Going Fast week continues here at OPOD as we look at this picture of Joe Dawson taking the checkered flag at the 1912 Indianapolis 500. It is amazing to me how early in the development of the automobile that men began to race. This was the second year of the Indy 500.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quad Cycle

Going Fast Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a quad cycle. These guys have figured out the way to go faster is to put more people on the bicycle. I do wonder how the math works. Certainly 4 people pedaling in line could go faster than one person, but they would not go four times as fast. I wonder what percent speed advantage you would get for each additional person over one. The picture was taken in 1898.