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Old Aug 17, 2005, 8:35 AM   #1
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My wife and I are scanning some old photos from her family in southern Ohio. [Great] Uncle Lester Shy of Shyville, age 19, has been captured in mid-thought (or judging by his expression, mid-non-thought) by an unknown photog around 1910.

He, horseCuster, and his rig are on the Piketon bridge across the Scioto River. The bridge, built for horse and buggy, served as the northbound bridge on the 4-lane Route 23 until maybe 10 years ago. If I'd known this 20 years ago, I'd never have shared the structure with one of the many hundreds of 18-wheelers that crossed it each day.

P.S. - it was a Kodak camera... or at least Kodak Velox postcard-back paper.

The houses andstreetsof Shyville are gone, having transmogrified into a Martin Marietta factory...


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Old Aug 17, 2005, 10:10 AM   #2
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I like that photo!! I wonder how hard it was for lester to keep control of the horse for long enough to take the photo??



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Old Aug 17, 2005, 2:34 PM   #3
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well is it was taken in 1910 he has to stay still for a while
must have been a good horse to stand still that long
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 9:36 PM   #4
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Nice old shot, DGehman. Horse looks like it has had about enough of standing there.

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Old Aug 18, 2005, 10:16 AM   #5
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Okay, kids, if you all get quiet and settle around, we'll talk about phototechnology, 1910--

As far as I can make out (and it isn't much, because the original is only 2 x 2 3/4 inches) the photographer was facing NNE and it's about 11:30 a.m. on a sunny summer day. Maybe late summer... those leaves look pretty mature.

The photographer was most likely using either a Brownie Model 2 ($2.00) or a No. 2 Folding Brownie (? $3-4). Judging by sharpness of the bridge clear to the back,the 2nd aperture was used... looks like around f/8. Shutter speed according to sources was aroung 1/30 to 1/50 of a second, which might be right, considering only the horse's tail is blurred -- c'mon down to rural Southern Ohio in the summer and meet the flies...

Since we have many more snapshots involving Lester on Kodak Velox postcard photo paper stock (one w/a message saying it was "taken with my camera") I'm assuming this was taken with Les's camera. Doubtless, Les corralled some passer-by to take the picture, just like many a tourist of today asking a stranger to take a photo.


If the cameras sound cheap, consider relative prices -- a loaf of bread (today $2-3) was 5 cents. That makes the Brownie Model 2 around $40-80 in today's money, and the folding model upwards of $80-100. Even the cheap model would have cost everything Les would havecleared in a good year on an acre of wheat.

[LATER: found more on income and costs. Today's family physician makes an average $142,516, compared to $1,250 in 1910 - 114x more, making the Brownie 2 in today's dollars, $114, about what a veryhigh-end consumer film camera costs -- the folding model, $342-456, is about the same as today's high end consumer digital camera.

[A doctor's car in 1910 (the Maxwell) was $600, compared to today's Doc Ride, the $50,000 Lexus -- 83x. The Brownie 2 would then be $83; the folding model, $249-332 -- about the same as average consumer film and digital, respectively.]

But we can tell from his rig and his clothes that Les was an up-and-comer, a smart dresser with a cool ride, so he didn't mind spending money. If he bought a Brownie No. 2, he was one of an estimated 2 million by 1910 -- a universe of mass marketing that made George Eastman a rich man.

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Old Aug 18, 2005, 12:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for the photo and the history lesson, Dave. Look like Lester was the Beau Brummel of his community!


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Old Aug 18, 2005, 10:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the info, Dave. You must love research, LOL.

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