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Early Office Museum

Antique Office Photographs 
~ 1900-1903 ~ 


Armour & Co.'s General Office, Chicago, 1900. ~ Click on photograph to enlarge.
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"Panoramic Picture of Armour & Co.'s General Office, Union Stock Yards, Chicago," Ill., by Geo. R. Lawrence Co., copyright 1900. Philip D. Armour opened a hog packing plant in Milwaukee in 1860 and the Union Stock Yards in Chicago in 1864. The Armour meat packing company shipped meat from Chicago to markets in the eastern US. This image provides a 270-degree panorama. When downloading of enlarged image is complete, scroll right to view the entire image. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Panoramic Photographs, LC-USZ62-52759/60
Interior General Office Swift & Co undivided back OM.jpg (252576 bytes) General Office, Swift & Co., Chicago, Ill., postcard, undivided back. This photo may date from a few years after the photo immediately above, but we placed it here to facilitate comparison. Swift & Co., a meat packing company, was incorporated in 1875.   Over 100 people are working in this office.  In 1905, "Swift's Chicago headquarters employed a clerical force of over a thousand."  (Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand, 1977, p. 392) Early Office
Museum Archive
1910_Sales_Dept_Gen_Office_Swift__Co.jpg (252576 bytes) Sales Department, General Office, Swift & Co., Chicago, Ill., postcard, postmarked 1910. While the postmark is 1910, we have placed this photo here because it is similar to the two photos immediately above. Early Office
Museum Archive
1900 Minnesota pf067633 v.JPG (37610 bytes) Office of the American Hoist and Derrick Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1900. The American Manufacturing Co. began to produce hoisting equipment in 1883. The company changed its name to American Hoist and Derrick Co. in 1892. The company manufactured derricks, cranes, and other heavy equipment. Minnesota Historical Society, Neg. No. 31697
1900 Minnesota 1900 pf071612 OM.JPG (43521 bytes) Judge of Probate Edmund W. Bazille in his office in the courthouse, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1900. Photograph shows a roll-top desk, revolving bookcase, letter copying press, and Star paper fastener on the table at left. Minnesota Historical Society, Neg. No. 33066
1900 Minnesota Lumber Exchange 1900 pf067620.jpg (41062 bytes) Harry Jones in office at 923 Lumber Exchange, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1900 Minnesota Historical Society, Neg. No. 01429-9a
1900_Men_at_Bookkeeper_Desks_Illinois_Central_Map.jpg (132901 bytes) Four men at book-keeping desks in railroad office, Illinois, 1900.  On the walls are a 1900 calendar advertising the Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance Co., an advertisement for the Burlington Route, and Maps of the Illinois Central and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul railroads. The Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance Co. was active in the US as early as 1848.  The Illinois Central Railroad connected Chicago to Louisiana and Alabama.  The office name of the Burlington Route was the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which served an area from Chicago to Montana to Texas.  Early Office
Museum Archives (255060 bytes) Office with a man dictating to a woman.  At the top of the photo is a sign that says "A Full Dinner Pail."  This was a slogan used by William McKinley during his successful 1900 campaign for the US Presidency.  "A Full Dinner Pail" was a symbol of prosperity. Early Office
Museum Archives
Main_Office_Champion_Harvesting_Machines_Chicago_leftx_OM.JPG (239066 bytes)

Main_Office_Champion_Harvesting_Machines_Chicago_rightx_OM.JPG (276737 bytes)

"Main Office, Champion Harvesting Machines, Chicago."  Champion harvesting machines were manufactured by Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Co., in Springfield, OH.  The company was founded in 1879, although Warder had produced agricultural machines in Springfield since 1850.  In 1902, the two largest US harvester manufacturers, McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. and Deering Harvesting Co., merged with three smaller harvesting machine manufacturers, Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Co., Plano Manufacturing Co., and Milwaukee Harvester Co., to form International Harvester Co., which then accounted for the vast majority of harvesting machines manufactured in the US.

The original photograph is too large for our scanner.  We are providing two scans that together show virtually the entire image, with some overlap.
Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_with_Large_Copying_Press_Sohio_OM.jpg (238897 bytes) Office, Standard Oil of Ohio.  Notice the very large copying press in the center of the room. Early Office
Museum Archives
Click on link at right to see photo. When finished, click the "Back" button on your browser to return here. Chief Clerk Frank Gass with Washington Adams in Office, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.  There is a vertical filing cabinet in the background and a letter copying press in the foreground.  Smithsonian Institution Archives
1901 DPL Insurance Company, Salida c. 1901 10013330 OM.JPG (44555 bytes) Insurance agent's office, Salida, Colorado, by Meigs, c.1901. Roll-top desk, check protector, typewriter, glass paperweights, telegraph key, display case with mineral samples, 1900 and 1901 Colorado business directories, safe, signs reading Insurance Company of North America, Incorporated 1794, Pennsylvania Fire Insurance of Philadelphia, and Providence Washington Insurance Company of Providence R.I., and letters on transom that read Jones & Craig. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, #10013330
1901 DPL Uncles Carroll & Near Bills 1901 10024243 OM.JPG (33718 bytes) "Uncles Carroll & Neal Bills, Denver Attorneys at Law," Denver, Colorado, 1901. Roll-top desk, safe, letter copying press. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, #10024243
1901 La Grande Salle des Francais au Bureau Central des Telegraphes a Paris L'Illustration 23 Nov OM.jpg (33718 bytes) La Grande Salle des Francais au Bureau Central des Telegraphes, Paris, 1901. L'Illustration, 23 Nov 1901
1902 Detroit Typing Dept. Nat. Cash Register 4a20574r.JPG (51212 bytes) Typewriting Department, National Cash Register Co., Dayton, Ohio, by William Henry Jackson (1843-1942), c. 1902? The National Cash Register Co., which was founded in 1884, manufactured the first mechanical cash registers. It introduced electric cash registers in 1906. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Detroit Publishing Co. Collection, LC-D4-42930 DLC
1902 DPL Daniels & Fisher c. 1902 10022906 detail.JPG (31100 bytes) Daniels & Fisher, Denver, Colorado, c. 1902. Daniels & Fisher, a Denver department store, was founded before 1875. Photo shows an office with roll-top desk, telephone, and spittoon. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, #10022906
1902_DPL_Rocky_Mountain_News_office_c._1902_20030388_OM.JPG (44799 bytes) Rocky Mountain News, Tabor Building, Denver, Colorado, by Harry H. Buckwalter, c. 1902. African American man at roll-top desk with candlestick telephone.  Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, #20030388
1902 DPL Rocky Mountain News...woman 1902 20031205 OM.JPG (36132 bytes)
Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, by Harry H. Buckwalter, 1902. Woman at roll-top desk, Smith Premier No. 1 typewriter and case.
Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, #20031205
1902 Detroit Richmond & Backus Co. 1902 4a20422r OM.JPG (33364 bytes) Richmond & Backus Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1902. Date from wall calendar. Richmond & Backus, which had an exhibit at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, advertised itself as "Account Book Makers, Office Outfitters, Stationers & Printers." Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Detroit Publishing Co. Collection, LC-D4-42748 DLC
1902 Detroit Richmond & Backus Co. c. 1902 4a20421r OM.JPG (36997 bytes) Richmond & Backus Co., Detroit, Michigan, c.1902. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Detroit Publishing Co. Collection, LC-D4-42747 DLC
Office_with_skylight_and_copier_OM.jpg (322336 bytes) Office with skylight.  Front center left is a rapid roller damp-leaf copier. In 1886, Schlicht & Field, Rochester, NY, introduced the Rapid Roller Damp-Leaf Copier, which used pressure supplied by rollers to copy letters onto a roll of dampened paper. After copies were pressed onto the paper, the paper entered the cabinet under the copier, where it dried on a large roller. An attachment was used to cut dried copies off the roll.  This machine, including a black walnut base, was $50. Early Office
Museum Archives
1900 OM Office c. 1900.JPG (36249 bytes)

Large office with a man at a roll-top desk with two candlestick telephones. No date.

Early Office
Museum Archive
Man_at_High_Desk.jpg (51658 bytes) Man writing in a ledger at a high desk. No date. Early Office
Museum Archive
No_your_typewriter_isnt_pretty_John_but_you_had_better_try_and_like_her.jpg (76744 bytes) "No, your typewriter isn't pretty, John, but you had better try and like her," stereoview, Underwood & Underwood, copyright 1902.  Staged office scene.  There is an Automatic Bank Punch on the typist's desk and a scale and lion head seal press on top of the roll-top desk. Early Office
Museum Archive
1903_Accting_Dept_Mfgers_Light__Heat_Co_Farmers_Bank_Bldg_Pittsburg.jpg (329914 bytes) Accounting Department, Manufacturers Light & Heat Co., Farmers Deposit National Bank Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1903.  Manufacturers Light & Heat produced and distributed natural gas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and was the largest exclusive gas company in the world.  It occupied 12 office rooms in the 24 story office building, which had 598 office rooms occupied by approximately 200 companies. "Farmers Bank Building," High Tide, Pittsburgh, 1903
1903_Beatty__Jones_Real_Estate_Farmers_Bank_Bldg_Pittsburgh.jpg (328615 bytes) Office, Beatty and Jones, Farmers Deposit National Bank Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1903.  Beatty and Jones was a real estate company; it occupied one room in the office building. "Farmers Bank Building," High Tide, Pittsburgh, 1903
1903_Business_Office_Press-Novelty_Co_Farmers_Bank_Bldg_Pittsburg.jpg (287495 bytes) Business Office, Press-Novelty Co., Farmers Deposit National Bank Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1903.   Press-Novelty supplied advertising novelties, such as calendars, thermometers, paper weights, pencils, and matches; it occupied one room in the office building. "Farmers Bank Building," High Tide, Pittsburgh, 1903
1903_Flint_Erving__Stoner_Accting__Stenographic_Dept_Farmers_Bank_Bldge_Pittsburg.jpg (375892 bytes) Accounting and Stenographic Department, Flint, Erving & Stoner, Farmers Deposit National Bank Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1903.  Flint, Erving & Stoner was a lumber company; it occupied four rooms in the office building. "Farmers Bank Building," High Tide, Pittsburgh, 1903
1903 Detroit General Office, Leland & Faulconer c. 1903 4a20652r.JPG (35247 bytes) General office, Leland & Falconer Manufacturing Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1903? Leland & Falconer was a machine shop founded by Henry Leland in the early 1890s. The company built engines for Oldsmobile and Cadillac (1902) automobiles. In 1904-05, the company merged into the Cadillac Motor Car Co., which was headed by Henry Leland. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Detroit Publishing Co. Collection, LC-D4-43030 DLC
1903 Detroit Stenographers' Room, Leland & Faulconer 4a20655r.JPG (39128 bytes) Stenographers' room, Leland & Falconer Manufacturing Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1903. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Detroit Publishing Co. Collection, LC-D4-43033 DLC
Three Men in Office, Talking Tubes, Thur 15 Jan.jpg (58665 bytes) Three men in office, 1903. Photograph dated based on wall calendar. Office has a letter copying press and a kerosene lamp in addition to electric lights. Front left are four speaking tubes used to talk to people elsewhere in the company. Speaking tubes that ran inside walls were common in mansions and other large buildings constructed during second half of the 19th century. We have seen speaking tubes in only three photos.  One of the others shows the counting room at the Riverside Press in Cambridge, MA, c. 1895-1905.  See P. A. Rodgers et al., A Photographic History of Cambridge, 1984, p. 77. Early Office
Museum Archive
1903 Nebraska Portrait of Prof. C.W.Roush 13647r.JPG (32140 bytes) "Portrait of Prof. C. W. Roush, principal of the Broken Bow Business College, and his stenographer, Miss Mable Holcomb," photograph by Solomon D. Butcher (1856-1927), 1903. Broken Bow is in Nebraska. Photograph includes two Remington typewriters and cases, a wall telephone, and several seal presses. Nebraska State Historical Society, Digital ID nbhips 13647 (compare nbhips 13651)
rkaycol_Office_with_Owl_and_Two_Men.jpg (32140 bytes) Office with letter copying press, stuffed owl, and gas heater. Available from
Ron Beck
1903_Navel_Committee_Rm_House_of_Rep_US_Capitol.jpg (135691 bytes) Naval Committee Room, House of Representatives, US Capitol, Washington, DC, 1903.  Room includes an electric fan on top of a document filing cabinet, a dictionary on a stand, and two K Diamond pen racks (patented 1886) on the table.  Glenn Brown, History of the United States Capitol, Vol. II, Washington, DC, 1903.
Image, Source: b&w film copy neg. Office with man at roll-top desk and woman working at typewriter. c. 1903. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., ID: cph 3b46786
Repro. No: LC-USZ62-54771. 
1903_UD_Office_Penn_RR_Union_Station_Harrisburg_PA.jpg (141613 bytes) "U.D. Office Force, Middle Trick, Union Station, Pennsylvania Railroad, Harrisburg, PA, 1903."  Railroad station operation was divided into three tricks or shifts: first trick (daytime), middle trick, and third trick (night or graveyard shift).  Employees often worked the same trick for many years.  The most senior employees often worked the first trick.  Some stations were manned only during one or two tricks, e.g., where complicated train movements occurred only at night, some small stations were manned only during the third trick. The office has three upstrike typewriters and has telegraph equipment. Early Office
Museum Archive
1903 Man Roll-top Desk 1899 $5 Silver Certificate OM.jpg (141613 bytes) Man at roll-top desk in private office, 1903. On the desk is an 1899 $5 silver certificate. Early Office
Museum Archive
Office_Wabash_Railroad_8_men_1_woman_OM.jpg (266285 bytes) Office with eight men and one woman, likely at the Wabash Railroad.  A map of the Wabash Railroad, which operated in the Midwest of the US, is on the back wall.  The name Wabash Railroad was used from 1889 and 1931 and from 1941 to 1964.  This railroad operated as parts of systems with other names from 1865 to the present. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_2_Men_Double_Sloped_Desk_OM.com_09080008.jpg (255766 bytes) Office of W. T. Whitlock, with two men, double sloped desk, large ledgers, safe, case on top of safe labeled "Fisher Book and Letter Typewriter," seal press, sign reading "Deed and Mortgage Blanks for Sale at Reduced Prices. By Recorder."  The name "W. T. Whitlock" is painted across the top front of the safe.  Fisher Typewriters were sold for only a few years, ending with the 1903 merger between Elliott & Hatch and Fisher to form Elliott-Fisher. (Someone named W. T. Whitlock was a clerk in the court system in Weakley County, TN, in 1904.  This may or may not be a man in this picture.) Early Office
Museum Archives

Office_with_43_Men_and_1_Woman.jpg (211979 bytes)

Office_with_43_Men_and_1_Woman_detail.jpg (268252 bytes)

Office with 43 men, all wearing suits, and one woman with a typewriter.  At the left of the top photo, a sign on the wall reads "Women."  Under the sign is a woman with a typewriter.  There is also a U.S. map on the wall.  The lower photo is an enlargement of a portion of the top photo.   Early Office
Museum Archives (175735 bytes) Office with two men and a woman.  This office is equipped with two document filing cabinets, one with 60 files and the other with 40.  On the side of the filing cabinet on the right, one can read that the filing cabinets were supplied by Geo. D. Barnard, St. Louis, MO.  Geo. D. Barnard supplied a full range of office equipment and furniture. Early Office
Museum Archives
Two_men_in_office_with_upstrike_typewriter_plantation_desk_OM.jpg (278796 bytes) Abstract company office of John T Oto with two men, one working at an upstrike typewriter. Early Office
Museum Archives

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