Horsing around

My great grandparents owned a dairy farm, which ties in neatly with this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt of a man on horseback, entitled “Off to the Creamery.” Granted, the fellow in the picture was carrying only one vat of milk with him. Perhaps he was going to buy milk rather than drop it off. It seems that one vat wouldn’t be much of a contribution, but a community creamery would accept milk from all comers. Poppy & Granny had many more than one cow on their farm, and also had the various farm animals you find on a working farm, plus they grew crops. To look at family photos, they spent a lot of time dressed up in their Sunday best, but I doubt that was the case! They just liked to have a nice time together – work hard/play hard, you know.


Clay processing

All right, so this is neither a cow, nor anything related to dairy. These horses are at the clay processing station on one of the farms owned by the family. The pile behind the horses is raw clay. The dark colored horse turned the mill and the clay was ground into a finer consistency. Once it was milled, the light colored horse carried it in the cart down to a fine china manufacturing plant for further processing. It was then made into dishes. There are two men in the image who were responsible for keeping the processing running smoothly.


A cousin, a nursemaid and a foal

All of these images were scanned and shared by Cousin L. She noted on this particular image that the little girl was on of Granny’s nieces, so my grandmother’s cousin. Cousin L is really my dad’s cousin. In a large family it can be rather confusing!

Poppy & Diamond

Poppy & Diamond

This is Poppy on his favorite horse, Diamond. That’s the barn behind him, and the little window is on the tack room. The entire family rode horses I believe. At least at some point.


Jeannette & Ted

This is Poppy’s sister Jeannette and her horse, Ted.


Poppy and his cart

Not to be outdone, here is Poppy and his horse cart. The cart was custom built for his wedding, I believe.

Well, there was nary a cow to be seen, but plenty of horses for your consideration. Many thanks to Cousin L for scanning and sharing the photos! For other images of horses or otherwise, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Galloping along…!


Shrimp kitchen

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt (a railway kitchen) had me searching in the antique shop for interesting photographs, and while I did find some that would *probably* work, I settled on three photographic proofs of an industrial kitchen. Little did I know what an great historical touchpoint this would turn out to be.

Upon first glance, the photos looked like a standard industrial kitchen – large work areas, people in white coats & hats, large cooking apparatus. Two major clues stood out right away. First, the stamp “Unfinished Proof Ninomiya” and on the back, writing in Japanese.

Shrimp kitchen

Shrimp kitchen

While I am guessing at the kanji at this point, all the photographs have the word “shrimp” written in English. This particular wide-angle image has and additional character. It could be kitchen, production, room, something else entirely. If you read Japanese, please feel free to comment with a translation.

UPDATE: from reader Mustang.Koji, the kanji say “Dai Ni Kou Jyou”, or “#2 Factory” (or plant).

Japanese kanji

Japanese kanji

The top three characters are written on each photograph. The bottom character only appears on this wide-angle one.

Next, I took a look online for the photographer. As it turns out, Ichiro Ninomiya was a prolific photographer in Los Angeles, CA, in the Little Tokyo area. Some time in 2010, a photographer in Los Angeles took possession of 15,000 or so negatives representing the majority of this photographer’s life’s catalog of work. The materials were to be thrown in the garbage. O.o. Ichiro Ninomiya was interred in a “relocation camp” in the US during World War II.  This embarrassing bit of American history has long been swept to the side by people who would rather forget the enforced relocation of thousands of American citizens of Japanese origin. Ninomiya’s family was interred in Arizona. After the war ended, the family returned to the Little Tokyo area and Ninomiya took up his long and historic photography career. He was well known in the area, and photographed everyone from regular everyday people to the governor of Hawaii.

Fried shrimp

Fried shrimp

On the website Saving Ninomiya I discovered a few photographs of Ninomiya himself and his studio.

From Saving Ninomiya

Click on the photo or the link to take a nice long look at the website. The curator of the collection was scanning negatives, and it appears some of the collection has been housed at a local university. While it appears the site has been fallow for a little while, hopefully the Sepian interest will spur the curator to update us! There is also a Facebook page: Ichiro Ninomiya: Saving a Life’s Work. I know all of us Sepians can identify and connect with the intent of this project!

Another photo I found on the site was of the Rose Frozen Shrimp Inc. (Squeee!!) It could just be a coincidence, but I’m feeling pretty confident.

Shrimp steak

Shrimp steak

These workers in an industrial kitchen, identified as a “shrimp” kitchen, are working with deep fat friers. Also, in the panoramic photo above, you can see barrels of “Golden Dipt,” which was known as a premium batter. Golden Dipt was manufactured in Millstadt, IL from 1957 – 2010, although the brand dates back to 1938. The Millstadt location was known for making “Japanese breadcrumbs” for batter.

I have reached out to the curator of the Ninomiya collection, and also the the Little Tokyo Historical Society to find out of either group would like to take possession of these images. They probably date from the 1950s and show one tiny moment in the long and proud history of Japanese Americans in Los Angeles. I am delighted to have rescued these from the heap of photos at the antique shop, and also to have learned of such an interesting photographer & the resultant project.

UPDATE: The Little Tokyo Historical Society has responded and are deciding whether they will take ownership of the photos. Fingers crossed that they can find a home with other artifacts and objects similar to their history.

For more images of kitchens, railroads, and otherwise, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Click on what’s cooking

Just what’s going on here?

industry 4

A ship at canal side?

This week’s Sepia Saturday gives us to wonder about what is happening in the whole photo, not just the couple in a piece of the image. I am reminded of the photographic battle between my Grammie and Grandpa Jim. Jim liked pictures of scenery, Grammie liked pictures of people. So, Jim would take a picture of say, the Grand Canyon, and down in the corner or off to the side would be a tiny little person.

Today I am featuring a few pictures in my collection that have me wondering, just what is going on here? Feel free to add your thoughts as well. The only one I’m really certain of is the ship above. It’s at the side of a canal. BUT what it’s doing there is the mystery. Was it taking on cargo? Delivering supplies? Refueling?

industry 9

Not exactly a thrill ride!

And this one, you would never EVER catch me on that cable car! I think this could be one of those rigs set up to start building a bridge over a river. Or, it could BE the bridge over the river.

UPDATE: Thanks to site reader Mike Brubaker, I got to looking at vintage photos of the Spanish Aero Car ride which traverses the Niagra River below the falls. The photo above is virtually identical to some others found online, and click here for the wiki entry.

Plenty of supervisors

Plenty of supervisors

This one here has several things going on. There’s a bridge over a canal or ditch, a fellow down in the ditch, and several fellows up above on the bridge “supervising” the operations. I can’t tell what kind of work is going on though.

To wander through the internet and wonder what is going on in some other photos, click over to Sepia Saturday.

Expand your view

Fixing the foundation

This series of photos was in with the Rudd photos and postcards and at first I didn’t know what I would do with them. I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening in them. With this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt showing an old advertisement for Oshkosh I looked at this series again and realized this is an early documentation of work, perhaps to show a client or save for future reference.


View from the street

Overalls 1

Foundation needing repair

Overalls 3

Showing where the work is to be done?

Overalls 2

Admiring their handiwork

What this looks like is a series showing the house from the street, a shot of the foundation that needs to be repaired, the fellow holding a rather large nail or screwdriver to point out the rotted beam, and finally two men kneeling down by the side of the house with an obviously new beam in place. It is really unfortunate that the photos were damaged, either in the camera or during the developing process. They all have a bit of a white cloud coming from the lower edge.

Also note that even though the foreman (?) is wearing a hat, button down shirt and tie, he is wearing overalls. These are two clothing trends that clashed in the mid 20th century. Overalls as the utility garment meant to keep clothing tidy and the shirt and tie left over from the Victorian and Edwardian ages which indicated a man had good breeding.

For more overalls (or as an Oklahoman acquaintance calls them, overhauls) click over to Sepia Saturday.

Covering the globe




Today’s CdV features a lovely young lady named Rose McEllinney Montgomery, with quite a lot going on with her ensemble. Her hair is in a combination of fat braids to the back and small ones in a coil to the front. Next, she seems to be wearing some kind of paletot or drape over a blouse – you can just see her white collar sticking out of her neckline. This garment has pleats on its pleats! There’s an ornate brooch pin and then one of these “lariat” style necklaces. I’m going to have to do some more research on the necklace because I have seen many of these in antique photos.

Rose selected Montfort & Hill of Burlington as her photographers. Unfortunately, they did not choose to name their state on the backmark.

North Island Naval Air Base

For a Sepia Saturday post, I found this nice shot of North Island Naval Air Base, in San Diego, CA. While I do not have a date for the photo, it looks like something from the 1940s or 50s. North Island Naval Air Base was founded in 1917 and is recognized as the birthplace of American Naval aviation. But before we discuss the Naval aviation history, let’s look back at the island itself.

In 1886 the island was one of two – North Coronado and South Coronado. The two together were formed from a sand spit and were purchased for development to become a residential resort for the wealthy. South Coronado was developed but the North Island remained wild. It was used for horseback riding and hunting by guests at J. D. Spreckles’ hotel, which later was christened the Hotel Del Coronado. A fellow named Glenn Curtiss took out a lease on North Island and operated a flying school until 1914. Then, a newcomer to the aviation industry named George Martin started flying from the island and showing off his aircraft. Martin of course later became the owner of Martin Aircraft, one of the world’s best aircraft companies for many decades.

Among the many “firsts” at North Island was the first parachute jump in the San Diego area, first sea-plane flight, first mid-air refueling and the first nonstop transcontinental flight in 1923. Prophetically, Curtiss also trained the first Japanese aviators, including a young pilot named Yamada who later became Admiral of the Japanese naval aviation forces in World War II. Charles Lindbergh’s first transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St Louis originated on North Island after the aircraft was built in San Diego.

Another brief touch of fame for the base resulted from the first commander Lieutenant Commander Earl W. Spencer Jr., USN after his ex-wife Wallice Warfield became the wife of King Edward of England in 1936 and the world was shocked when he abdicated his throne to be with her.

North Island and South Island were originally separated by a waterway but during World War II this was filled in, allowing better access to the entrance of the base.

North Island was the home of the Navy’s first four aircraft carriers: USS LANGLEY, USS LEXINGTON, USS SARATOGA and USS RANGER. Lexington  fortuitously departed Pearl Harbor on December 5th, and Saratoga was in San Diego on December 7th. Along with the two other aircraft carriers the Navy had in the Pacific, they missed the terrible bombing attack on Pearl Harbor December 7th which drew the US into World War II.

The base is still in operation today and can be accessed by the amazing Coronado Bay Bridge.

Coronado Bay Bridge

For more amazing Sepia Saturday images, where the theme is ships, crowds, travel, sailing and more, click over and jump off from there!

Anchors aweigh!

Found you at last…


For Sepia Saturday I am giving you a vintage image of Chiping Sodbury Market Place, 1903. The postcard was mailed in 1989 and what I love the most is the text on the back.


The obviously misaddressed note was cheekily redirected and I know the card reached its correct destination because it was in my friend’s collection. All thanks to the resident at 36 Church Street.

For more images of shops, people, groceries, and more, click over to Sepia Saturday!

What’s on your shopping list?

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: