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Old photos of workers and businesses from past decades Read more >>

While we don't know what the first business transaction was, it is easy to imagine that thousands of years ago a good hunter bartered his excess meat for something more useful to him. In the history of man, many kinds of businesses and occupations have been created in response to social needs. Look through these photos of workers and businesses from previous decades shown below - some things have changed, some haven't! << Read less
Ed Woehl in front of his store in Bucktown - Photo by Tiffany Bauer
People in this photo:
Edwin J Woehl
Feb 4, 1919 - Jul 9, 2005
Gregory, SD
Shared on Aug 4, 2013 by:
Topics:
Back in 1953 there were some great deals on used cars...
This was my dad's uncles' store-cafe, Edgar Cafe. It was located in Defuniak Springs, Florida. Don't know who the girls were but I'm assuming they were family. It was around 1930-1945
Great Grandfather John Brooks (on left), of Salt Lake City, Utah. No date offered by the submitter - name of the other man not offered by the submitter.
People in this photo:
John Brooks
Jul 5, 1861 - around 1946
Shared on Sep 15, 2012 by:
This photo was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine, a professional photographer, who did a series focused on child labor. Mr. Hine utilized his camera for social reform, and was particularly instrumental in changing child labor laws. This image shows two very young children working a textile mill in New England, 1873. Other Lewis Hine photography collections include steel-making machinery and workers, American Red Cross relief in Europe during WWI, the construction of the Empire State Building, and the Great Depression. Lewis W. Hine was born on September 27th 1874 in Oshkosh Wisconsin and died on November 3rd, 1940.
People in this photo:
Lewis Wickes Hine
Born: Sep 27, 1874
Glaeser & Campe Store General Store, Cook County, Illinois in 1909: View looking NE across Sauk Trail. To the left, out of frame in this picture, is the Illinois Central railroad track, which remains to this day. The house to the right of the Campe store has been moved a time or two, but still existed as a coffee shop in 2010. The Campe family were early settlers in the Richton Park area. Margaret Campe married Ed Klawitter. Her mother "Old Mrs. Campe", was one of the last pioneer ancestors buried in the St Anne's Cemetery. There was a great fuss, as the paperwork seemed to 'have been misplaced' at a time when burials were being discouraged at that location. But Old Mrs Campe was not to be denied and they had to find room for her. This photo is taken looking N.E across Sauk Trail, just East of where the Illinois Central RR tracks cut across Sauk Trail. One of the houses to the east (right in the photo) still exists, though it has been moved a time or two, to widen the road, and was as of 2010 still in use as a coffee house. Ed Klawitter and his wife Margaret raised their family in this house, in the 1940's, 50's, & 60's. Ed Klawitter, a popular man with a pleasant nature, was mayor of Richton Park for a time and a local park bears his name.
Robert Reinhold Klawitter (photo taken in 1908 in Illinois) was a woodworker at the Steger Piano Factory (Inset) and a volunteer fireman with the Steger Fire Dept. (main photo)
People in this photo:
Robert Reinhold Klawitter
Feb 10, 1803 - Oct 10, 1938
Delores Cazneau when she was working in Chicago Illinois in 1940s and 1950s in advertising. She was then known as Dolores Jones. Later known as Dee Cazneau.
People in this photo:
Delores M Cazneau
Aug 28, 1924 - Dec 13, 1994
visalia, ca, us
Vintage car driving into one of the earliest drive-in theaters in California sometime in the early or mid 1930's. The drive-in theater was created by Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. when he first nailed a screen to a few trees in his yard, aimed a 1928 Kodak projector from the hood of his car, and placed speakers behind the screen. Richard continued to experiment with various settings, included neighbors, and found that people gravitated towards watching films outdoors. Due to people's interest, Mr. Hollingshead applied on August 6th 1932 for a patent and was given U.S. Patent 1,909,537 on May 16, 1933. The drive-in theater quickly gained popularity and became most popular in the late 1950's and early 1960's when over 4,000 drive-ins appeared across the United States. Some of the first recorded drive-in theaters include: Drive-in theatre: Camden, New Jersey June 6th 1933 Shankweiler's auto park: Orefield, Pennsylvania July 5th 1934 Drive-in short reel theater: Galveston, Texas July 5th 1934 Pico: Los Angeles, California September 9th, 1934. This particular photo might be of the Pico drive-in in Los Angeles California. Pico attempted to solve the noise pollution issue of early drive-ins by introducing a row of speakers in front of the cars (as opposed to next to the screen or on towers) in 1935. This issue was resolved in 1941 when RCA brought in-car speakers with volume control to the industry. The advertisement in this photo reads: DRIVE-IN THEATRE SIT IN YOUR CAR SEE AND HEAR TALKING PICTURES ON THE WORLD'S LARGEST SCREEN CALIFORNIA'S FINEST
Charles Robert Withers, my grandfather on my fathers (William Keith Withers) side. This photo,of his general store, was taken in the East end of Huntington WV in the early 1930's.
People in this photo:
Taken 1930's Craigville,Wells,IN - Hillard Hudson Bell is at the front of the truck. He was born 22 Feb 1884 Adams Co.,IN and died 4 Jul 1952 IN. He is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery Bluffton,Wells,IN
People in this photo:
Hillard Hudson Bell
Feb 22, 1884 - Jul 4, 1952
Earl Ekleberry JR This photo was taken where he worked, a restaurant. Date and location unknown. The name of the other man is unknown.
People in this photo:
Shared on Apr 17, 2012 by:
Topics:
A photo of John Alexander Kantoniemi
People in this photo:
John Alexander Kantoniemi
1845 - Oct 27, 1917
COBURG VIC, VIC, Australia
A photo of Norma Jean (Roos) Dettmer
People in this photo:
Norma Jean (Roos) Dettmer
Nov 4, 1925 - Jan 14, 2005
A photo of Amelia (Perry) Hewitt with her family outside of her shop. Local historian "Paul Gibson" (paul-gibson.com) tells me that Amelia was listed as a beer retailer at 27 Finsbury Street in Hull, in 1913. This could be the very shop recorded in the listings. This is not my original photograph, so this is the best quality scan I have I'm afraid.
People in this photo:
Amelia (Perry) Hewitt
Oct 16, 1878 - 1955
Photo of publican John George Heywood and others, with a horse drawn vehicle, outside the Turf Club Hotel in Dandenong Road. The hotel included a Post Office. The original weatherboard single-storey Turf Club Hotel was built by John George Heywood in 1871 in Dandenong Road, opposite the entrance to Caulfield Racecourse. John George Heywood, a prominent racing personality, was the hotel's publican until the turn of the century. In 1879 the railway line severed the direct route from the racecourse to the hotel. In 1923 the timber hotel was replaced by a two storey brick building. Dan Murphy's took over the hotel building in 1994 and was later demolished
People in this photo:
John George Heywood
E Mvern, Australia
Bill was a quiet & shy child who was mostly interested in reading. He attended public school until his parents sent him to the private Lakeside School in Seattle Washington where he was introduced to computer programming and met Paul Allen, his later partner in founding Microsoft.
People in this photo:
Bill Gates
Born: Oct 28, 1955
This photo has gone missing. If I find it, I will edit this post. A detail photo of the Triangle Film Corporation photo showing laboratory workers.
This photo has gone missing. If I find it, I will edit this post. A photograph of mostly female workers at Triangle Film Corporation's film laboratory. The photo looks as though it may have been cut down from a larger picture, possibly showing more of the building. Triangle only produced films between 1915 and 1919. The last movie released under the Triangle name came out in 1922 or 1923.
Taken about 19 years after Al Scoffone started his business with one truck, this photo shows Al and his crew removing an old locomotive steam engine from the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is believed the locomotive was headed to the home of famed Southern Pacific railroad engineer Billy Jones, who used to work the rail line in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
People in this photo:
Al Scoffone
1924 - Mar 6, 2006
Monte Sereno, CA, United States
This photo of Al Scoffone was taken in 1945 with his first truck, which he would use to create his trucking transportation company "Scoffone Trucking Service" aka "STS" which would eventually grow into a fleet of over 100 vehicles. The company later became Athens Transportation Systems (ATS) and ran by his son David Scoffone. Four years after this photo he married his life long partner Beverly Scoffone.
People in this photo:
Al Scoffone
1924 - Mar 6, 2006
Monte Sereno, CA, United States
A photo of the John T. Lorenz candy wagon, Lockport NY about early 1900s
People in this photo:
A photo of the Mahoning Drive-In located at Lehighton Pennsylvania which was built in 1948 and began playing films in 1949. Drive-ins were the premier way to view movies during the 1950s. Sound was played either through wired speakers which you would put on your car door, or via a radio (FM) frequency. There were over 4,000 of them in the 1950s whereas less than 300 remain today. The Mahoning drive-in recently gathered attention due to director Alexander Minnelli’s documentary “At The Drive-In” which highlights how the residents of Lehighton and the surrounding areas donated their time and money to keep the drive-in running. The Mahoning Drive-In was initially operated by local James Humphries where up to 500 cars (later on up to 600 cars!) could park and watch films on the big screen from the comfort of their cars. The drive-in is running strong today - open from May through Septembers playing 35mm film prints on weekends - and now has room for 900 cars, plays audio via 89.3 FM radio, has a screen measuring 120 feet wide, and they offer overnight passes where movie goers can watch a feature film and stay overnight.
This is the sign on the side of the historical building that currently houses the French restaurant La Foret. It reads “Built after the tragic 1875 fire destroyed the original 1848 Adobe hotel. First two-story hotel in California. Used by the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Co for unmarried employees & to house visitors to mining settlement. Remodeled into the Cafe Del Rio Restaurant in the 1930s now home to La Foret, a fine French dining establishment.” I’ll add that this restaurant is currently a favorite of mine and my wife.
This is the back of the menu of the New Almaden Food & Beverage Company located in New Almaden, San Jose California. Yes, I will take a good Zinfandel for $3.00. The original can be found at La Foret in New Almaden. I believe this was the menu for the restaurant in the hotel which housed the unmarried minors of the QuickSilver mines. The New Almaden quicksilver mine in the Capitancillas range in Santa Clara County, California is the oldest and most productive quicksilver mine in the U.S.
This is the front of the menu of the New Almaden Food & Beverage Company located in New Almaden, San Jose California. Look at those prices!! The original can be found at La Foret in New Almaden. I believe this was the menu for the restaurant in the hotel which housed the unmarried minors of the QuickSilver mines. The New Almaden quicksilver mine in the Capitancillas range in Santa Clara County, California is the oldest and most productive quicksilver mine in the U.S.
Cities Services gas station. Owned with husband Percy in the 1940's.
People in this photo:
Found in an antique store in Belton, Texas. This is a somewhat damaged photo of a group of office workers posing for a photo. The calendar in the center of the photo appears to read 1911. There are a pair of pennants near it reading "Taft" and "Welcome Our President" (William Howard Taft was 27th President of the U.S. from 1909 to 1913). There is a large map of the Santa Fe Railroad on the wall on the left side of the photo and a large but faded map of the Western Newspaper Union on the right side of the photo. The man and woman on the right have a small sign above them reading "Notary Public, Public Stenographer".
Found in an antique store in Belton, Texas. Writing on the back says "Last picture of Papa in Davenport shop 5 months before his death Dec 13 1906." Wikipedia lists nine communities in the United States by the name of "Davenport" - I can't tell which one this is.
Found in an antique store in Belton, Texas. According to the visible product labels, Independence Biscuit Company was based in Independence, Kansas and made "cakes, crackers and biscuits". This photo shows an assembly line of workers packaging what appear to be biscuits or large crackers. The product may have been baked in the same room - there are scorch marks on the brick wall nn the left foreground that may be an oven. I would guess that this photo was taken sometime in the early 20th century. It's hard to say exactly when because everybody is wearing work clothes - not exactly the latest fashion trends.
Found in an antique store in Belton, Texas. The caption on bottom reads "Bowdry's Drug Store; Phone 132; Mason, Texas" The National Recovery Administration poster on the right wall suggests this was taken sometime between 1933 when the law went into effect and 1935 when it was thrown out as unconstitutional. There is a wonderful variety of products and advertisements visible in this photo from the large soft drink display on the left behind the soda fountain "Carole Lombard and Phillips Holmes enjoying the pause that refreshes" (Coca Cola) and "Energy UP - you feel it surge" (Dr. Pepper) to the box cameras in the case behind the man on the right (can't tell whether they're Kodak Brownies or some other brand). Other ads I can make out include: Gulf Oil (calendar on balcony railing in back), "We serve Austin Maid ice cream" below it, "Ucatone the Vitamin Tonic" and "Honey & Horehoud Cough Medicine" next to the man in the center, Kleer-A-Hed inhalant "breathe in Kleer-A-Hed and breath out colds" and various brands of cigarettes and cigars on the far right.
This is a photo of J.C. Penney Co. in Hamilton, Ohio added by Birt C on July 21, 2019.
This is a photo of Sears Roebuck and Co. in Hamilton, Ohio added by Birt C on July 21, 2019.
Elder Beerman store in Hamilton, Ohio on High Street in 2008 when it was still open. The store closed in 2009.
Wilmur's Store in c.1950's or 60's in Hamilton, Ohio.
A photo of the former Stix, Baer & Fuller department store at River Roads Mall, 1961
A photo of the Enger Lumber Company, Owned by William D. Enger, and sons, Established 1945, sold 1952.
People in this photo:
William D. Enger
Nov 19, 1899 - May 28, 1982
A photo of Earl Edward Smith and his grandson with Earl's dragline
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
A photo of Earl Edward Smith and his grandson with Earl's dragline
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
A photo of Earl Edward Smith and his grandson with Earl's dragline
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
A photo of Earl Edward Smith and his grandson with Earl's dragline
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
The boarding house operated by Abram Van Kleeck and family.
People in this photo:
Bertha Barringer
Apr 16, 1874 - Apr 5, 1953
A photo of the Bowman family in front of their grocery store: Charles and Elma Simmons briefly ran a grocery store in New York City. My father remembers hearing that Elma hated living in the city so much that she threatened divorce if they did not GO HOME to Dutchess County. I have no proof, but believe the two other people in the photo may be Elma's brother Otis Bowman and sister Mary (Bowman) Duncan. A 1910 census says Otis was 50, making his birthdate about 1860 - he would have been 25 in 1885. According to my information, Mary was born in 1866 and would have been about 19.
People in this photo:
Charles Bruce Simmons
May 11, 1861 - Dec 26, 1911
Postcard of the Triebel family garage in Red Hook. Photo probably taken sometime in the 1920s. Printed on the back is the following: "Tourist Lodge. This is where we stopped. Good rooms and good service."
People in this photo:
Donald Franklin Triebel
Aug 14, 1926 - Jun 11, 2001
Red Hook, NY
We aren't sure exactly when or where this was taken (1950s?). It seems there was a large boulder in the way of the construction and some of Earl's co-workers bet him that he couldn't move it out of the way with his shovel. Grandpa won the bet - instead of trying to lift the boulder as the other men probably expected him to, he rolled it out of the way with the shovel's nose.
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
A photo of Earl Smith in a steam shovel. Lettering along the top reads "Erie Steam Shovel Co. Erie, PA." Date and location unknown. 1940s? Some of the large cans in the back behind Earl's lunchbox have writing on them, but I can't make out what it says.
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
A photo of a steam shovel taken by Earl Edward Smith. A Bucyrus Erie steam shovel loaded on an Ontario & Western railroad car. My uncle is not sure where this picture was taken. He thinks possibly Goshen, NY but it could have been somewhere else; e.g. Whitney Point. Not only did the O& W run to many places Earl worked, but their cars ran on other lines also. My uncle noticed that the shovel in the photo is a "light color". This reminds him of a story Earl told. Mr. Hopkins (Earl's boss) visited a job and said that was the "worst looking shovel, it needs to be painted." Earl or someone went to a store in town and bought paint. The only paint the store had enough of was pale green - so the shovel was painted green. My uncle thinks this might be that shovel. My uncle tells about the job in Goshen. Earl had worked for Mr. Hopkins at the Albany Sand & Gravel Co. for many years, both in Albany and on various construction sites in NY and PA. He left Albany Gravel in the 1940's and worked for Everett Van Kleeck at his garage in Kingston. Shortly after the garage closed in the 1950's, Mr. Hopkins called Earl. He had sent the last old steam shovel he had to a job in Goshen, NY (this could have been it sitting on the RR car). They were having trouble getting the old shovel to run and he asked Earl to go down and see if he could help. He did, and my uncle thinks Earl might have worked there for a while. Some years later when my uncle was working as a truck driver - hauling milk in a tanker, he passed through Goshen. He noticed an old shovel sitting there rusting away. Later he mentioned this to Earl. Earl asked some questions about the shovel and said "That's my old shovel. They didn't use steam shovels anymore after that job, so they just abandoned it there". A correspondent agrees that the photo does seem to be of Goshen, NY and notes that the house in the background looks like one across the street from where he grew up.
People in this photo:
Earl Edward Smith
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
Kingston, NY, USA
The best playground was an abandoned factory circa 1950s. This shows two kids posing on an abandoned bulldozer in front of the smokestacks of the DuPont Old Hickory Gunpowder Plant, the largest smokeless powder plant in the world. It ceased operation in early 1919. DuPont returned in 1928 and manufactured Reemay, Rayon, and Cellophane.
A photo of M M Lindsey Drilling Company - Rig #1. This picture was taken in the Louisiana bayou country in 1955. Jimmy Lindsey is on the left. He was the mechanic for the drilling company owned by his father who is standing on the right, Marshall Masterson "Curley Lindsey.
People in this photo:
A photo of William Hartley Hodder (back row, 2nd from left).
People in this photo:
William Hartley Hodder
1897 - 1971
Warburton, Australia
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