Businesses and Occupations

Old photos of workers and businesses from past decades
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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!
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Ed Woehl in front of his store in Bucktown - Photo by Tiffany Bauer
People in this photo:
Feb 4, 1919 - Jul 9, 2005
Added Aug 4, 2013 by: Tiffany Bauer
Tiffany Bauer
16 favorites
Topics:
Back in 1953 there were some great deals on used cars...
Added Apr 5, 2013 by: John Emmering
John Emmering
68 favorites
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
Added Oct 22, 2012 by: Dodie Cassidy
Dodie Cassidy
46 favorites
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:
Jul 5, 1861 - around 1946
Added Sep 15, 2012 by: Judith Moore
Judith Moore
43 favorites
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:
Sep 27, 1874 - Unknown
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.
Added Sep 4, 2012 by: John Klawitter
John Klawitter
85 favorites
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:
Feb 10, 1803 - Oct 10, 1938
Added Sep 3, 2012 by: John Klawitter
John Klawitter
85 favorites
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:
Aug 28, 1924 - Dec 13, 1994
Added Jul 9, 2012 by: Patrick Cazneau
Patrick Cazneau
116 favorites
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:
Unknown - Unknown
Added May 23, 2012 by: William Withers
William Withers
23 favorites
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:
Feb 22, 1884 - Jul 4, 1952
Added May 18, 2012 by: Sue Allen
Sue Allen
990 favorites
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:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Apr 17, 2012 by: Diane Nagel
Diane Nagel
358 favorites
Topics:
At Dunie's Delicatessen, St. Louis: Unkown, Sam Fleischmann, Albert Fleischman, Ben Fleischmann
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
O.H. Lynn Printing Company Burbank CA. Joe Trepina bought this printing company in the late 50's, early 60's from O.H. Lynn and owned and ran it until 1973.
People in this photo:
Jul 30, 1909 - Aug 12, 1979
Added Jul 24 by: Robert Boyd
Robert Boyd
120 favorites
Portrait of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley - the dressmaker to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Born into slavery in 1818, in November 1855 she purchased her and her son's freedom in St. Louis Missouri. She later moved to Washington D.C. where she began a dressmaking business employing 20 seamstresses who provided fashion to the wives of elite politicians including Varina Davis (wife of Jefferson Davis), Mary Anna Custis Lee (wife of Robert E. Lee) and of course the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.
People in this photo:
February 1818 - May 26, 1907
Shown here is the 48th Golden Rule Store which would later become J. C. Penney. James Cash Penney wasn't the first owner of the Golden Rule company. In fact, he was brought into the company with the two existing founders who already operated two Golden Rule Stores. He opened his first store and later open two additional stores under the same name and partnership until he bought complete control in 1907. By 1912 he had 34 stores and consolidated them all under the name J. C. Penney in 1913.
Added Jun 4 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
461 favorites
Topics:
James Cash Penney opened the Golden Rule store shown here in Kemmerer Wyoming with two partners on April 14th 1902. This store still exists today along with a newer JC Penney Company store that is considered the "mother store" that opened in 1935.
Added Jun 4 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
461 favorites
JC Penney was THE shop for everything from clothes to appliances. From it's humble beginnings in 1902 until its peak in 1973 when the company operated over 2,000 locations nationwide. By 2020 JC Penney had over 800 locations until it announced on June 4th 2020 that the bankrupt company would be closing 154 stores.
Added Jun 4 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
461 favorites
Topics:
Written on back: Dad in Dunbar Bank. John Ingebretson (that can't be spelled right)
Added May 15 by: Kat Schwartz
Kat Schwartz
313 favorites
Topics:
This is a photo of Frank Benda added by Petr Zenkl on April 2, 2020. Frank Benda in his dry cleaner's shop in Ord, Nebraska
People in this photo:
Jan 12, 1895 - September 1977
Added Apr 2 by: Petr Zenkl
Petr Zenkl
46 favorites
Detail of photo of George Jenks and two boys.
People in this photo:
Jun 24, 1851 - May 29, 1922
Added Mar 17 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Found in an antique store in Texas. George Washington Jenks and two unidentified boys standing in front of the "Empire" newspaper office in Stephenville, Texas.
People in this photo:
Jun 24, 1851 - May 29, 1922
Added Mar 17 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
This is a photo of Back of Hoboken Woman photo added by Roxy Triebel on January 27, 2020.
Added Jan 27 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of Chicago Woman with Fancy Lace Collar
Added Jan 27 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
This is a photo of Back of Waterloo Lady photo added by Roxy Triebel on January 27, 2020.
Added Jan 27 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
A photo of John Alexander Kantoniemi
People in this photo:
1845 - Oct 27, 1917
Added Jan 18 by: Raelene Wilson
Raelene Wilson
7 favorites
Topics:
A photo of Norma Jean (Roos) Dettmer
People in this photo:
Nov 4, 1925 - Jan 14, 2005
Added Jan 14 by: Barrett Young
Barrett Young
282 favorites
Topics:
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:
Oct 16, 1878 - 1955
Added Jan 4 by: Rachel Carroll
Rachel Carroll
164 favorites
This is a photo of Back of "Pensive Woman" photo added by Roxy Triebel on January 4, 2020.
Added Jan 4 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of the German photo of the woman with big beads.
Added Jan 4 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Advertisement on the back of the scratched Polish photo.
Added Jan 4 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
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:
Jun 11, 1829 - Jun 12, 1906
Added Nov 29, 2019 by: Stephen Triggs
Stephen Triggs
9 favorites
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:
Oct 28, 1955 - Unknown
Added Nov 5, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
The store run by George Burbank
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
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.
Added Oct 13, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
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.
Added Oct 13, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
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:
1924 - Mar 6, 2006
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:
1924 - Mar 6, 2006
Added Oct 10, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
A photo of the back of the William Allyn Strong cabinet card. "Compliments of your old friend Will A. Strong"
People in this photo:
Sep 14, 1847 - Dec 12, 1908
Added Sep 18, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Topics:
The back of the Sigismund Engelking carte de visite. Photo was found at an antique store badly faded and covered with fungus spots. The original was claimed and returned to a family member back around April 2017.
People in this photo:
Jun 9, 1843 - Oct 15, 1905
Added Sep 16, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Topics:
Photographer advertisement on the back of the photo of Orea Estella (Hurlbutt) Sanford
People in this photo:
Added Sep 9, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Topics:
Back of the portrait photo of James Randolph Burnside. Handwritten "Miss Mollie S. Havis, Marshall, Texas, Dec. 25th 1883" Evidently the photo was a Christmas gift.
People in this photo:
Jul 1, 1860 - Jan 28, 1909
Added Aug 26, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of the baby photo of James Alexander Jones.
People in this photo:
Aug 16, 1855 - Sep 4, 1931
Added Aug 25, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of the portrait of Julia Evelyn (Robinson) McCalla.
People in this photo:
Jan 11, 1867 - Apr 18, 1968
Added Aug 25, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of Annie M. Danner cabinet card with ad for the photographer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mary lived in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 23, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of Mary Garber cabinet card with ad for the photographer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mary lived in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 23, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
Back of Ella King cabinet card with ad for the photographer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I can't make out her middle initial or the city she lived in.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 23, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.25k+ favorites
A photo of the John T. Lorenz candy wagon, Lockport NY about early 1900s
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 22, 2019 by: Dennis Seeds
Dennis Seeds
17 favorites
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.
Added Aug 18, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
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.
Added Aug 18, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
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.
Added Aug 18, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
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.
Added Aug 18, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.18k+ favorites
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