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Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Florida Train Wrecks in Flickr Commons

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 15, 2013

I’ve been trying to figure out how to determine the train route my great-grandmother and the 4 youngest of her 11 kids took in 1918 when she decided she had had enough of living west of the Pecos River in Texas and would join a married daughter in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Her life, I presume, must have reached the metaphorical train wreck stage to have made such a radical move.

Looking through the State Library and Archives of Florida collection in the Flickr Commons, I was surprised by how many images in the Scenes from Florida Railroad History set featured train wrecks. No one, it seems, can help but look.

But first I suppose this was the ideal, a engine blowing coal smoke into the orange groves. Date is estimated as being in the 1910’s.

As we enter the most active part of hurricane season in South Florida, consider the problem of evacuating the Florida Keys or rescuing survivors.

Rescue train swept off the tracks by the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Sept. 5, 1935.
“The hurricane washed this 11-car special train off the track soon after reaching the stricken area. The train was trying to rescue 683 World War I veterans in a rehabilitation camp, of which around 250 died as a result of the hurricane. The veterans, a remnant of the Bonus Army that marched on Washington, were employed for highway construction in the federal work relief project.”

Remains of a rescue train: Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key

Here’s a train headed to the Keys on a better day,

Florida East Coast Railway train traveling along Overseas Extension bridge


Here’s one from 1934. Jupiter is on the East Coast of Florida, not far, interestingly, from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy), where NASA launched its rockets,

Florida East Coast Railway train wreck: Jupiter, Florida

How did this happen? The date is noted as “not after 1898.”

Head on collision of steam locomotives near Sanford, Florida

This is a mess. And I can’t figure out how it is possible that the guy standing on the rear of the train car looks so much larger than those on the ground.

Seaboard Air Line Railway train wreck, 1905

There are more pictures of wrecks in this set, as well as a number of shots of trains on their tracks. But I will close with a metaphorical train wreck: the treatment of Indians in the US. I did not know that Geronimo and defeated Apaches were shipped off to Florida:

Geronimo and fellow Apache Indian prisoners on their way to Florida by train, September 10, 1886.



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Flickr Commons: Southern Methodist University’s Photostream: Trains, Boats

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 15, 2013

Here are a few more images from Southern Methodist University’s photostream at the Flickr Commons.

Rights: Please cite Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library when using this image file. A high-quality version of this file may be obtained for a fee by contacting

Bibliographic material is cut and pasted from the photostream.

The Old Way. The New Way.

Title: The Old Way. The New Way.

Date: ca. 1910

Part Of: Eric Steinfeldt collection of maritime views, Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Place: Galveston, Galveston County, Texas

Locomotive No. 355, Krauss-Maffei

Creator: Bellingrodt, Carl

Date: 1940

Place: Germany

Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

No. 55. In Case of Emergency. Snow plow.

Creator: Benecke, Robert, 1835-1903
Date: 1873
Place: Kansas

Part Of: On the Kansas Pacific Railway collection, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library


If you visit the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, you will find hundreds of artworks donated by “Ima Hogg.” There was a real woman by this name, daughter of a Texas Governor, James Stephen (Big Jim) Hogg. Why did he name his daughter Ima?  Here’s the Wiki take on the matter:

“Her first name was taken from her uncle Thomas Hogg‘s epic Civil War poem The Fate of Marvin, which featured two young women named Ima and Leila.[4][5][6] According to Virginia Bernhard’s biography of Ima Hogg, “there are some who believe that James Stephen Hogg … named his only daughter Ima Hogg to attract the attention of Texas voters” in a year when he was running in a close race for district attorney of the Seventh District in Texas,[3]which he won.[7][8] Alternatively, correspondence from Jim Hogg indicates he may not have been conscious of the combined effect of his daughter’s first and last names.[9]

Ima Hogg later recounted that “my grandfather Stinson lived fifteen miles [24 km] from Mineola and news traveled slowly. When he learned of his granddaughter’s name he came trotting to town as fast as he could to protest but it was too late. The christening had taken place, and Ima I was to remain.”[4] During her childhood, Hogg’s elder brother William often came home from school with a bloody nose, the result of defending, as she later recalled, “my good name”.[10]

Ruthless or stupid, take your pick.

At least, “contrary to popular belief, Ima did not have a sister named Ura.”

Ima Hogg

Date: ca. 1909

Part Of: Eric Steinfeldt collection of maritime views

Place: Galveston, Galveston County, Texas

Physical Description: 1 photographic print (postcard)


Three U. S. Torpedo Boat Destroyers on Neches River, Beaumont, Texas.

Date: ca. 1910

Part Of: Eric Steinfeldt collection of maritime views, Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Place: Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas



Boat deck, Lusitania

Creator: Bedford Lemere & Co.
Date: ca. 1905-1907
Part Of: Photographs of Q.S.T.S. “Lusitania”, Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

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Flickr Commons: Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands

Posted by Laurie Frost on October 20, 2012

Here are a few items from the Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands collections in the Flickr Commons.

Can’t get enough of zeppelins and balloons, one of the collections from this source.

Santos-Dumont vaart met een zeppelin langs de Eiffeltoren / Zeppelin passing the Eiffel Tower


‘Allo Spaceboy!

“Ruimtepak” voor stratosfeerballon / Space suit for stratospheric balloon, 1935


Zeppelin bij Empire State Building in aanbouw / Zeppelin near the Empire State Building under construction. The American airship ZR 3 Los Angeles flying near the Empire State Building under construction. The Zeppelin, built as LZ 126, is accompanied by some blimps. New York, the United States of America, 29 October 1930.

Another collection deals with tobacco:

Smokkelen van sigaretten in een boek /Smuggling cigarettes in a book. Germany, 1932.

Automaat voor brandende sigaretten / Cigarette machine delivering burning cigarettes for a penny. England, 1931.

Another, called Allerzielen, Allerheiligen / All Souls’ Day, All Saints’ Day, features graves.

Graven van Vincent en Theo van Gogh. The graves of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and his brother Theo [Theodore] van Gogh (1857-1891) at the churchyard in Auvers-sur-Oise, France. Photo out of 1927.

Another focuses on “new life”:

Uit ei gebroken kuiken/Chick facing daylight for the first time, 1936.

Inventions, some stranger than others:

Houten badpakken /Wooden bathing suits, supposed to make swimming a lot easier. Haquian, Washington, USA, 1929


Eénwielige motorfiets / One wheel motor cycle. Invented by Italian M. Goventosa de Udine. Maximum speed: 150 kilometers per hour ( 93 Mph).

Gasaanvalbestendige kinderwagen / Gas war resistant pram, England, Hextable, 1938.




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Flickr Commons: Transportation and Exploration from the National Archives, UK

Posted by Laurie Frost on March 31, 2012

There are hundreds of public domain images in the Flickr Commons contributed by the National Archives of the United Kingdom. There are three collections: Africa Through a Lens; Artwork, Artifacts and Documents; and Photography.

Today’s images are from sets within the Photography Collection.


German Graf Zeppelin flies over St. Paul's Cathedral while on a press visit to London. 1930.

A British made Cierva Autogiro flies over Manhattan Island. The brainchild of Spanish aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva, the autogyro was developed in the early 1920s.

Hiram Maxim's Glider
The Anglo-American inventor of the machine gun, Sir Hiram Maxim experimented unsuccessfully with powered flight during much of the 1890s. In 1911 he established a company to develop military aircraft with Louis Blériot, the first man to fly across the English Channel and engineer Claude Grahame White, one of Britain's first qualified pilots. c.1915

Fighter squadron in formation. Photograph from the log book of RAF Squadron Leader B.J.E. Lane. 1940-2.

Photograph from the Trench Warfare Section of the Ministry of Munitions showing a man wearing breathing apparatus against gas attack. WWI.

In the early 20th century sailing ships would compete to be the first to bring a grain cargo from Australia to the UK. Built in 1911 S.V. Passat was the winner of the final race in 1949/50, reaching Penarth, Wales in four months. Its cargo of wheat was destined for the mills of Methodist mill owner and film magnate J. Arthur Rank.


'With Captain Scott to the South Pole (British Antarctic Expedition)'. Steam Yacht 'Terra Nova' with dogs on Ice at side.'
"This image shows a single frame from the very short (3-4 frame) sections of nitrate film stock accessioned at The National Archives from Herbert Ponting's footage of the Antarctic." c.1911.

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Flickr Commons: Stockholm Transport Museum

Posted by Laurie Frost on March 21, 2012

These images from the Flickr Commons are in the photostream provided by the Stockholm Transport Museum.

Artificial limbs aren’t what immediately come to mind when thinking of photos from a transportation museum, but they certainly do provide a means of movement.

Aftermath of the second world war. Shop window in London 1946.

Also in London, a nice view of double-decker buses.

Victoria bus station in London in 1927.

Elevator in the London underground.

This next one is interesting: old means facilitating new.

Installation of trolley bus wires with horse-drawn carriage assembly 1944. By Börje Gallén.

I like how you can see the snow fall in this next shot:

Stureplan, Stockholm in the winter of 1957. By Gunnar Ekelund.

Trams on Stureplan in Stockholm in 1949. By Gunnar Ekelund.

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Flickr Commons: Canada’s McCord Museum

Posted by Laurie Frost on February 10, 2012

We continue our tour of the Flickr Commons with Canada’s McCord Museum’s Notman Photographic Archives. Among the sets in this collection are more than fifty images each of ships and trains, as well as views of Montreal and Canada. Use the http to get to the Flickr page where you can download the image in several sizes.

Hudson's Bay Company schooner "Nannuk" stuck in ice, 1921(?). Captain George E. Mack

Whaleback S. S. Christopher Columbus at dock, Sault St. Marie(?), ON, about 1890. James Ricalton

Whaleback S. S. Christopher Columbus at dock, Sault St. Marie(?), ON, about 1890

View of the harbour, looking east, Montreal, QC, 1884. Wm. Notman & Son

View of the harbour, Montreal, QC, 1884

Esquimault Dry Dock near Victoria, BC, 1887. William McFarlane Notman

Esquimault Dry Dock near Victoria, BC, 1887

Mrs. Cotter kayaking on the North West River, Hamilton Inlet, Labrador, Newfoundland, 1909. Hugh A. Peck

Mrs. Cotter kayaking on the North West River, Hamilton Inlet, Labrador, NL, 1909

Vice-Regal train, Montreal, QC, 1878. Notman & Sandham

Vice-Regal train, Montreal, QC, 1878

Tramway crossing under construction, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence St., Montreal, QC, 1893. Wm. Notman & Son

Tramway crossing under construction, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence St., Montreal, QC, 1893

Hermit Range from Glacier Hotel, BC, 1887. William McFarlane Notman

Hermit Range from Glacier Hotel, BC, 1887

Tandem drive, Montreal, QC, 1889. Wm. Notman & Son

Tandem drive, Montreal, QC, 1889

Harbour from Notre Dame Church, Montreal, QC, 1863. William Notman

Harbour from Notre Dame Church, Montreal, QC, 1863

Percé, QC, about 1900. Wm. Notman & Son

Percé, QC, about 1900

Illecillewaet Glacier, Glacier Park, British Columbia, 1909. William McFarlane Notman

Illecillewaet Glacier, Glacier Park, BC, 1909

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Are We There Yet?

Posted by Laurie Frost on September 4, 2009

Today’s images are all from the National Archives.

Before you leave home this holiday weekend, consider all options:


Poster circulated in Philadelphia in 1839 to discourage the coming of the railroad. It reads in part: “Philadelphians, your RIGHTS are being invaded! regardless of your interests or the LIVES OF YOUR LITTLE ONES. THE CAMDEN AND AMBOY with the assistance of other companies without a Charter, and in VIOLATION OF LAW as decreed by your Courts, are laying a LOCOMOTIVE RAILROAD! RALLY PEOPLE in the Majesty of your Strength and forbid THIS OUTRAGE!” 30-N-46-1957. (american_cities_096.jpg)

Maybe they were right, considering the scene less than 60 years later.


 Horse-drawn wagons and carriages, an electric trolley car, and pedestrians congest a cobblestone Philadelphia street in 1897.30-N-36713. (american_cities_100.jpg) [Archives]

This happy couple has chosen a gentler means of travel for their 1886 Washington tour. Would you call this a quadcycle?


Archives 77-RP-7347-4. (american_cities_056.jpg)

Here’s another shot from 1886. These folks are in Loup Valley, Nebraska. No indication of where they started from or how long they’ve left to go.


Archives: 69-N-13606C

In 1912, covered wagons shared the road with automobiles in Nebraska.042

Covered wagon with jackrabbit mules encounters an automobile on the trail near Big Springs, Nebr. By A. L. Westgard, 1912. 30-N-9OO6. [Archives]

Don’t forget to pack a picnic. Rifle optional.


Officers and guests lunch under giant cactus near Fort Thomas, Arizona. February 18, 1886. 111-SC-83730

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NOAA: The Unexpected

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 21, 2009


Credit: OAR/NURP [nur09515]

Once more to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Photo Library, for some images that just might surprise you.

Take, for example, the one above, “In 1680, physicist Giovanni Borelli attempts to recycle his own breathing air.” You’ll find it under Graphics in the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) album, which is part of the Voyage to Inner Space – Exploring the Sea with NOAA collection.

The next three are from the Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection.


This man-goat-fish “merman satyr” is an illustration from a 1696 volume, Specula physico-mathematico-historica by Johann Zahn. (Credit: Archival Photograph by Mr. Sean Linehan, NOS, NGS [libr0079])

Or perhaps you’d prefer to encounter “A Monster Born of a Ewe,” like in this illustration appearing in the 1714 Journal des Observations Physiques, Mathematiques et Botaniquesby Louis Feuillee. The NOAA caption page notes that what we have here is “A ‘monster’ observed by the author in Buenos Aires in 1708. The author was serious as he reported this creature to the King of France.” (Credit: NOAA libr0408)libr0408

Isn’t this a pleasant looking sun? It reminds me of the one on The Teletubbies but is in fact from the title page of De Thermis Andreae Baccii Elpidiani, Civis Romani by Andrea Bacci, published 1622. (Credit:  libr0469)


These two, filed under Sculpture and Carvings in the Art of the NOAA Photo Library collection, were shot by NOAA photographer William Folsom in the Florida Keys. He found the first on Islamorada (Credit: NOAA, NMFS [line1108]); the giant spiny lobster is at Treasure Village on Plantation Key (Credit: NOAA, NMFS [line1115]).



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Balloons at War

Posted by Laurie Frost on July 20, 2009

After looking at the Tissandier collection at the Library of Congress (see previous post), I decided to see what other images of balloons in the public domain I could find. Three categories emerged: exploration, science, and war.

Should I have been surprised that within weeks of the first manned hot-air balloon ascent in 1783, Benjamin Franklin was speculating on the effectiveness of employing this new technology in battle? I learned this at the website archiving the transcripts for Engines of Ingenuity, a radio program produced by KUHF-FM in Houston and broadcast on NPR. Since 1988, John Lienhard and others have examined “the record of history to reveal the way art, technology, and ideas have shaped us.”

Lienhard explains that shortly after the first hot air balloon ascent, Franklin had watched the launch of a hydrogyn balloon. In a letter to a Dutch botanist, Franklin offered several observations to the effect, Lienhard writes, that

it’s too bad so many rulers fail to take balloons seriously, because it’d be impossible to defend against an attack of steerable balloons. He suggests that an invading force of 5000 balloons, two men in each, would cost about as much as one ship of the line, and would pose a far greater threat….Franklin ends by discussing the relative merits of hydrogen and hot air. Hydrogen costs a lot more and takes days to generate, but it also has five times the lifting force and you don’t need a fire to stay aloft. He mentions some work being done on a gas made from sea coal, but he doesn’t yet know its relative lifting force.

Another episode of Engines of Ingenuity reports that the first use of balloons during war was by the French when its Revolutionary Army used them to locate enemy artillery troops in 1794.

In the American Civil War, both the Union and Confederacy used manned balloons for surveillance. The US Army Balloon Corps was founded in 1862.  Its “Chief Aëronaut,”  Thaddeus Lowe

had three balloons and what he described as an “aeronautic train, consisting of four army wagons and two gas generators.”

The two gas generators are shown in these photos, part of  the National Archives digital collection [“Professor Thaddeus Lowe’s Balloon Gas Generators. The U.S. Capitol in background, Washington, DC, circa 1861. ARC ID 512776]. 28-0467a

The second [ARC ID 525085], from the Archives’ collection of Mathew Brady’s work, shows a balloon being inflated using the generators. 05-0730aThese worked by adding sulphuric acid to water and iron filings, thus producing hydrogyn.  The Library of Congress supplies the third, a picture of Lowe transferring fuel from one balloon, the Constitution, to another, the Intrepid [LC-B811- 2349].01562r

Although the Balloon Corps didn’t survive the Civil War, balloons were used by the Americans, among other forces, for reconaissance in World War I. From the National Archives: “Close-up view of an American major in the basket of an observation balloon flying over territory near front lines” 06/1918 [ARC ID 530737] 28-0813aand “Returning from a U-Boat scouting party.  Aerial naval observer coming down from a ‘Blimp’ type balloon after a scouting tour somewhere on the Atlantic Coast” 1918 [ARC Identifier 533474]. 28-0815a

I wouldn’t guess that this was the routine way to exit a balloon, would you?

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The Tissandier Collection: Aëronauts, Balloons & Lighter-than-Air Flight

Posted by Laurie Frost on July 16, 2009

It’s been a while since we’ve visited the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Online Special Collections, but today I’ve a special treat: a few selections from the Library’s 420 digitized images of the Tissandier Collection, which it purchased in 1930. Brothers Gaston and Albert Tissandier, 19th century French balloonists, collected balloon and other flying machine documents ranging from technical illustrations to cartoons. The Library describes the holdings:

The Tissandier Collection contains approximately 975 items documenting the early history of aeronautics with an emphasis on balloon flight in France and other European countries. Subjects include general and technical images of balloons, airships, and flying machines; portraits of famous balloonists; views of numerous ascensions, accidents, and world’s fairs; cartoons featuring balloon themes; pictorial and textual broadsides; and colorful ephemera and poster advertisements. There are also several hundred illustrations clipped from books and newspapers. The pictures, created by many different artists, span the years 1773 to 1910, with the bulk dating 1780-1890. The online portion of the collection consists of about 420 items, including all drawings and prints and selected photographs. Variant views and clippings from books and newspapers (generally non-pictorial) are not comprehensively represented online.

And on the images’ public domain status:

Publication and other forms of distribution: Permitted. There are no known restrictions on the use of images in this collection.

Credit Line:Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-DIG-ppmsca-02438]

 Here’s an early design from 1783 for a balloon equipped with sails [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division, ppmsca 02314]:02314r

Next, a 1790 design by Stoupy Bijou

for an airship navigational system project… consisting of five balloons fastened to a sixty foot mast, a rudder, two 12 foot long oars, and two polygonal vanes to control the rise and fall of the airship. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC staff, 1981-82.) [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division LC-DIG-ppmsca-02516]:02516r

Considerable progress had been achieved by the time of the 1878 ascent from Tuilleries, France, of  Henry Giffard’s balloon [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division LC-DIG-cph 3a14342]:3a14342r

During that same era, Albert Tissandier prepared these

five technical illustrations [that] show network of ropes and apparatus for securing multi-passenger platforms on captive balloons; arrangement of ropes for netting; and an elaborate hydrogen manufacturing and pumping station for inflating balloons [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division ppmsca-02510]:02510r

Albert may have also drawn this skyscape of a lunar halo and luminescent cross he observed with his brother during their balloon Zénith’s long distance flight from Paris to Arcachon in March, 1875. The illustration appeared in his brother Gaston’s book, Histoire de mes Ascensions(1878) [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division ppmsca-07435]:07435r
Balloon aëronauts Albert Tissandier (left) and Gaston Tissandier (right)  [Credit–Library of Congress, P&P Division ppmsca-02274]:


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