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Early Office Museum

Antique Office Photographs 
~ 1920s ~
 

When no date is provided in the Description column below, we do not know the date of the image or photograph.  
We have placed undated images and photographs in their likely chronological order.
If the Source in the right-hand column is anything other than "Early Office Museum Archives," 
we do not have the ability to grant permission for use of the photograph or to provide a high resolution image. 
You would need to contact the source directly.

Click Image to Enlarge Description Source
1920_Office_farm_implement_co_New_London_WI_OM.jpg (285118 bytes) Office of farm implement company, New London, WI, 1920.  The man is Henry Heger.  On the book-keeper's desk are boxes of Brunswick Inner Tubes.  Above that desk is an advertisement for Red River Special Threshing Machinery made by Nichols & Shepard Co., Battle Creek, MI.  Nichols & Shepard produced farm machinery in Battle Creek from 1848 to 1929, when the company was purchased by the Oliver Farm Equipment Co., Charles City, IA.

Above the safe is an advertisement for the La Crosse Plow Co., La Crosse, WI.  According to La Cross History Unbound, "Most of the [La Crosse Plow Works} farm implements were designed to turn over the soil and break the sod. Started in 1865, the La Crosse Plow Works was owned and operated by Albert Hirshheimer and was a key manufacturing industry that helped pull La Crosse out of economic hardship following the collapse of the lumber industry. In 1929 the company [by then named the La Crosse Plow Co.] was bought out by Allis Chalmers, and the La Crosse plant closed in 1969."
Early Office
Museum Archives
1920_Office_Wichita_Wholesale_Grocery_Co_OM.jpg (233665 bytes) Office, Wichita Wholesale Grocery Co., Wichita, KS, 1920. A woman is operating a Rotary Neostyle stencil duplicating machine in the center foreground. The photograph shows what in 1894 was known as the salesroom. "The location of the salesroom is easily determined ... by the decorative pressed metal ceiling, cast-iron columns, and elaborate door and window surrounds." The four story Wichita Wholesale Grocery building was constructed in 1894 "in what used to be...the heart of the old warehouse district.... To the east of the building are the railroad tracks that used to provide direct service to the warehouse. ... The Wichita Wholesale Grocery Company apparently went out of business in 1925."  Other wholesale grocery companies continued to use the building until at least 1945, and the building was still being used as a warehouse in 1983.  The building is still standing and is now topped by a sign that reads "Spaghetti Works."  (Quotations are from a 1983 National Registry of Historic Places document. Early Office
Museum Archives

1920_Office_Tom_McKay_Kansas_OM.jpg (253683 bytes)

Tom McKay in his office in Kansas, 1920.  Dated by wall calendars, one of which advertises the Geo. D. Barnard Stationery Co., St. Louis, MO.  On the desk is a Hotchkiss No. 2 paper fastener and an Adair paperweight and pen rack.  At the rear is a Royal No. 10 typewriter.  To the right is a metal filing cabinet with five types of drawers.  According to the 1920 US Census, a man named Tom E. McKay, who was born in 1866, lived in Decatur, KS, in 1920, when he was 54 years old.  That is a pretty good fit.  The man in the photo looks about 60 years old. Early Office
Museum Archives

1920 Cashier and Bookkeeping Office MauritsMalm on Left OM.jpg (253683 bytes)

The counter and screen indicate that this is a retail office. A sign on the wall advertises the Home Insurance Company of New York, and this photo may show an office of that company. The wall calendar is for September 1920 or 1926. Machinery includes a Burroughs Adding Machine and a Todd Protectograph checkwriter. The later model was introduced in 1913. Early Office
Museum Archives

1920_Office_Workers_California_State_University_IMET.jpg (52269 bytes)

Office with two men and a woman at a roll-top desk using a front-strike typewriter and a dictation transcribing machine, 1920. California State University, Sacramento, Education Department, IMET.
African_American_office_workers_Hempstead_TX.jpg (152280 bytes) Four African Americans working in an office in Hempstead, TX.  In the center is a Burroughs Class 3 adding machine.  A candlestick telephone is on the desk. Early Office
Museum Archives
UWA_Dexter_Horton_National_Bank_c._1920_SEA_1048_OM.JPG (95885 bytes) Office in Dexter Horton National Bank, Seattle, WA. There are a number of Burroughs adding machines. Manuscripts, Special Collections, University Archives, University of Washington Libraries, UW4165
Office_11_Women_4_Men_Brockton_MA_OM.jpg (318602 bytes) Office with 11 women and 4 men, Brockton, MA. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_with_19_men_on_left_about_a_dozen_women_on_right.jpg (121674 bytes) Office with 19 men doing paper work on the left and about a dozen women typing on the right. Early Office
Museum Archives
Filing_Section_c._1920_Metro_Life_Ins_Co_MetLife_Archives.jpg (64919 bytes)" Filing Section, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY. MetLife Archives
1921_Philadelphia_Electric_Co._Office_with_Comptometers_OM.jpg (160785 bytes) Office, Philadelphia Electric Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1921.  Two of the desks have Comptometer calculating machines and one has what may be a Burroughs Calculator, suggesting that this is an accounting office.  The wall calendar advertises "Wm. F. Ruwell ~ Machinist ~ Engineer."  William F. Ruwell had a business in Philadelphia, PA, already in 1908. Early Office
Museum Archives
1921_Office_Central_New_England_Railroad_Maybrook_NY_OMx.jpg (211977 bytes) Office, Central New England Railroad, Maybrook, NY, 1921.  Twenty-nine workers, all men, are visible. Early Office
Museum Archives
1921_Firemans_Fund_Fire_Underwriters_Office_Boston_FF_HRO3hr_OM.JPG (61860 bytes) Underwriters' Office, Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., Boston, MA, 1921. Fireman's Fund
1921_DPL_Redlands_Power__Irrigation_Co_Grand_Jct_CO_Z2749_11002749.jpg (34768 bytes) Office of Chas. Rump, Redlands Power and Irrigation Co., Grand Junction, CO, 1921. A Sure Shot stapler made by the Acme Staple Co. is on the left front of the desk. Photo, which is dated by a wall calendar, shows Chas. Rump, Miss Larson, and George Kelly. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, X-24357.
Early 1920s Veterans Bureau Calculating WWI Vet Bonuses LOC.JPG (70073 bytes) Computing Division, Veterans Bureau, Washington, DC, early 1920s. Photograph shows at least 30 workers using Burroughs electric adding machines to compute bonuses for World War I veterans. Eleven electric fans are visible. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div.
Office_with_64_Workers.jpg (223375 bytes) Office with sixty-four clerical workers, one of whom (front right) can be seen operating an adding listing machine. Early Office
Museum Archives
Horydczak Chitchlow Co. 1923-59 5a43549r.JPG (29198 bytes) Critchlow Co. General Merchandise, Prospect, PA, photograph by Theodor Horydczak (1890-1971). Photograph includes an Oliver typewriter and a candlestick telephone. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div., Theodore Horydczak Collection, LC-H814-T-2898-005-x
DPL Three Women at desk c. 1920-30-35 00186828.JPG (39257 bytes) "Three women at desk," Colorado, photograph by Harry M. Rhoads (1880/81-1975). Photograph shows a typewriter, a candlestick phone, and high-heeled shoes. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, codhawp 00186828.
1922_Office_Washington_DC_OM.com_0908b0001_.jpg (204788 bytes) Office, photograph by Scherer Studio, Washington, DC, 1922. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Detroit_News_Building_OM.JPG (235230 bytes) Office, Detroit News, Detroit. MI, 1922. Early Office
Museum Archives
Bank_of_America_Fresno_CA_Main_Branch_OM.jpg (277818 bytes) Office, Main Branch, Bank of America, Fresno, CA.  The Bank of America was formerly the Bank of Italy, and this is the ground floor of the Bank of Italy building. Early Office
Museum Archives
OfficeMen_Dictating_Machines_OM.com_0908c09.jpg (529074 bytes)

OfficeWomen_Transcription_Machines_OM.com_0908c10.jpg (449778 bytes)

In the first of these two offices, at least 15 men are dictating using Dictaphone machines.  In the second office, at least 13 women are transcribing dictation using Dictaphone transcription machines and typewriters.   In addition, 4 women appear to be supervising in the latter office. Early Office
Museum Archives
1923_Office_with_Five_People.jpg (147328 bytes) Office with a man and four women, 1923.  One woman appears to be a telephone operator and another is working at a typewriter. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Ponca_City_OK.jpg (154152 bytes) Office, Ponca City, OK.  Both wall clocks are labeled "Naval Observatory Time Hourly by Western Union."  The desk in the foreground has a large electric time stamp.  The next desk has two typewriters.  The last desk has a Burroughs adding machine.  There are two uniformed men in front of the door, which suggests that this may be an office at the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad station. Early Office
Museum Archives
Minnesota_1923_pf028626_Y.jpg (50983 bytes) Office, L. Andrew Olsen Lumber Co., Osseo, MN. 1923. Date from calendar on wall. Photograph includes adding machine on stand. Minnesota Historical Society, Neg. No. 46446.
Minnesota_1925_pf027063_Y.jpg (48801 bytes) Interior, Bureau of Engraving, Minneapolis, MN, 1925. Stenographers are transcribing using dictating machines and typewriters. Minnesota Historical Society, Neg. No. 17217.
cb000181 c. 1925 Filing Office OM.JPG (39204 bytes) Filing Office. Charles Babbage Institute, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Burroughs Corp. Collection, cb000181.
1925_Accounting_Office_Brooklyn.JPG (34867 bytes) Accounting Office, Brooklyn, NY, 1925. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office with four women, including one using a typewriter and one using an adding-listing machine; one man; and one customer. Early Office
Museum Archives

Victory_Life_Insurance_Co_General_Office_Chicago_IL_OM.JPG (97562 bytes)

Office_Victory_Life_Insurance_Chicago_IL.jpg (151408 bytes)

"Partial View of Home Office, Victory Life Insurance Co., Chicago, Ill.," postcard. Reverse of top postcard states, "Began operating March 3, 1924. Operating in twelve states with sixteen branch offices. Employs more than five hundred persons."  Reverse of bottom postcard says the same, except that "more than five hundred" is increased to "more than six hundred."  The two views are nearly identical, except that there are more people working at more desks in the latter postcard image.  According to the Chicago Historical Society, "Beginning in the teens and continuing through the 1920s, African American entrepreneurs [in Chicago], denied access to the city's main business district, built a thriving business center of their own in the vicinity of Thirty-fifth and State Streets. This self-contained community included several new buildings constructed with black capital, like the Overton Hygienic/Douglass National Bank Building. Erected in 1922-23, the building housed several business enterprises owned by Anthony Overton [1865-1946], including the Overton Hygienic Company, which specialized in black cosmetics, the Douglass National Bank, and the Victory Life Insurance Company." Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_by_Scherer_Studio_1207_F_St_NW_Washington_DC_OM.jpg (336733 bytes) Federal Government Office, Washington DC, photograph by Scherer Studio.  On desk in foreground is a Woodruff file, and to the left is a cabinet with Woodruff files.  The Federal Government used a vast number of Woodruff files, and did so for a long time, which explains why these files are now common. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office with 17 Calculating Machines Irving Underhill NYC OM.jpg (336733 bytes) Office with clerical workers using calculating machines, photographer Irving Underhill, New York, NY, 1925. In the foreground are 17 workers using calculating machines, probably made by Monroe. Most of these workers are women but a few are men. In the background are many other workers, perhaps on the order of 50. Early Office
Museum Archives
Virginia Tech 1920s NS5398 Y.JPG (77052 bytes) Freight Receipts, General Office Building, Norwalk & Western Railway, Roanoke, VA.  Burroughs key-driven calculators. Virginia Tech ImageBase, Norfolk & Western Hist. Photo. Coll., No. ns5398
Virginia Tech 1920s NS5436 Y.JPG (72211 bytes) Freight Receipts, General Office Building, Norwalk & Western Railway, Roanoke, VA.  Photograph shows four employees working with Comptometer calculating machines. There is an Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co. pencil sharpener, probably a Chicago model, in the foreground. Virginia Tech ImageBase, Norfolk & Western Hist. Photo. Coll., No. ns5436
Virginia Tech 1920s NS5423 Y.JPG (86079 bytes) General Office Building, Norwalk & Western Railway, Roanoke, VA. Virginia Tech ImageBase, Norfolk & Western Hist. Photo. Coll., No. ns5423.
Virginia Tech 1920s NS5505 Y.JPG (82402 bytes) General Office Building, Norwalk & Western Railway, Roanoke, VA.  Wide carriage Remington typewriters or bookkeeping machines. Virginia Tech ImageBase, Norfolk & Western Hist. Photo. Coll., No. ns5505.
Virginia Tech 1929 NS5407 Y.JPG (62022 bytes) Treasury Office, General Office Building, Norwalk & Western Railway, Roanoke, VA, 1929. Virginia Tech ImageBase, Norfolk & Western Hist. Photo. Coll., No. ns5407.
1926_Felt__Tarrant_Catalog_Comptometer_Bureau_Armour__Co._Chicago_OM.JPG (69802 bytes) Comptometer Bureau, Armour & Co., Chicago, 1926. Armour & Co. was a meat business. Felt & Tarrant Mfg. Co. Catalog, 1926.
Office_with_21_women_with_short_hair_OM.jpg (378813 bytes) Office with 21 women.  These women appear to be typing addresses on envelopes and stuffing them with advertising that includes a picture of a woman.. Early Office 
Museum Archives
EHS_Edison_Purchasing...Calculating_Machines_1916_10365001_Y.jpg (61871 bytes) Edison Purchasing Department, West Orange, NJ. Photograph shows Monroe calculating machines. Edison National Historic Site, 10.365/1.
Minnesota_1938_pf023932_Y.jpg (46574 bytes) John Runk's office at his shop, Stillwater, MN, photograph by John Runk. There is an American Adder in the photo. Minnesota Historic Society, Neg. No. Runk 1927.
Omaha NE Office with Union Pacific RR Calendar.JPG (44882 bytes) Western Union telegraph office, Omaha, NE. Based on the equipment shown, Neal McEwen concluded that this photo and the following one show a Western Union telegraph office. Early Office 
Museum Archives
Office_with_Unidentified_Keyboard_Machines.jpg (398512 bytes) Western Union telegraph office, Omaha, NE. Based on the equipment shown, Neal McEwen concluded that this photo and the preceding one show a Western Union telegraph office. Early Office 
Museum Archives
Women in office typing address stencils for addressing machine OM.jpg (57900 bytes)

Women in office filing address stencils for addressing machine OM.jpg (449778 bytes)

The two photos to the left were taken at the same company.

The top photo shows a large number of women typing addresses onto stencil cards for use in addressing machines. A few other women are filing the cards. Cases in the back left and right of the photo hold large numbers of trays (or drawers) full of address cards.

The bottom photo shows a large number of women filing the type of address cards that are being typed in the top photo, supervised by a man (standing just right of center). Cases behind the women hold large numbers of trays full of address cards. These photos were evidently taken at a company that used an extremely large mailing list. This may have been an insurance company with a large number of policy holders, a mail order house with many customers, or a periodical with many subscribers.
Early Office
Museum Archives
Office with 13 Graphotype Machines OM.jpg (57900 bytes)

Storage for Addressograph Address Plates OM.jpg (48156 bytes)

These two photos were taken at the same company.

The top photo shows an office with thirteen Graphotype machines. Graphotypes, which were produced by Addressograph Co., Chicago, IL, embossed letters on metal plates that were used to print addresses on letters and envelopes. The typewriter keyboard Model G3-44 shown here sold for $850 in 1927. The number of Graphotypes indicates that the company maintained a huge mailing list.

The bottom photo shows files for metal address plates used in the Addressograph system.
Early Office
Museum Archives
Man with 18 Bates Numbering Stamps OM.jpg (37897 bytes) Man with eighteen Bates numbering machines. This photograph and the preceding two were taken at the same company. Early Office
Museum Archives

Home_Office_Building_Mass_Mutual_Life_Ins_Co_Springfield_MA_OM.jpg (287685 bytes)

Office, Home Office Building, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Springfield, MA.  The candlestick telephones and the center part in the hair of the man front center suggest that this photo was taken in the 1920s. Early Office
Museum Archives
Bureau_du_Courrier_et_du_Classement_Houpin__Cie_Clermont-Ferrand_OM.jpg (637397 bytes) Bureau du Courrier et du Classement (Mail and Filing Office), Etablissements Houpin et Compagnie, Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dme, Auvergne, France.  Houpin & Cie. manufactured tin products. Early Office
Museum Archives
1928_USDA_Office_of_Information.jpg (201821 bytes) Office of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, 1928. Early Office
Museum Archives
Computing_Section_Computing_Division.jpg (190621 bytes) Computing Division, Veterans Bureau, Washington DC, 1929.  Three dozen Burroughs adding machines were being used to compute veterans' benefits. Early Office
Museum Archives
1929_Office_with_Desktop_Addressograph_Machines.jpg (138923 bytes) Office at an Addressograph sales and repair outlet, 1929.  There are two desktop manual Addressograph machines.  Two additional photos of larger Addressograph machines in a showroom and workshop at the same company are posted on our web page on Mailing Machines. Early Office
Museum Archives
Click on link at right to see photo. (Click on thumbnail to see full-size image.) When finished, click the "Back" button on your browser to return here.  Mailing and filing room, General Laboratories, Madison, WI, 1929.  Photograph shows three mail room machines. Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Images, No. 21003.
Office_with_Missouri_Pacific_Lines_map_OM.jpg (311516 bytes) Office with one 9-column and one 12-column Burroughs adding machine.  On the wall is a Missouri Pacific Lines map of the US.  Missouri Pacific had railroad lines in 10 states, most importantly Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, but also in Nebraska, Illinois, and Mississippi.  This office was almost certainly in one of those 10 states. Early Office
Museum Archives
Rawleighs_Eastern_Executive_Office_prob_PA_x.JPG (66938 bytes) "Rawleigh's Eastern Executive Office."  Rawleigh's, which was founded in 1889, is a manufacturer and distributor of medicinal, food, and cleaning products.  In the front of the photo, left of center, a woman is using a bookkeeping machine with fanfold paper.  Right of center a woman is using a transcription machine and a typewriter to type material that had been recorded with a dictating machine. Private collection
Office_with_large_electric_Burroughs.jpg (153089 bytes) Office with Burroughs electric bookkeeping machine. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Image_from_Negative_blue.JPG (82200 bytes) Several men working in an office.  Scanned from a glass negative. Early Office
Museum Archives

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