Conductor

By: usermattw

Jul 22 2015

Tags: , , ,

Category: Men

8 Comments

Click here to view it larger.

 

What it is:

Real photo post card measuring 3.5 x 5.5 inches.

 

What I know about it:

Different online sources disagree slightly about the dates indicated by the paper manufacturer’s markings (Aristo, with a bird logo).  Most say 1905 to around 1907, but at least one extended the range to 1913.

 

Comments:

I’d welcome any thoughts on this uniform, but I’m assuming our guy here is a conductor on a city railway or trolley line.  Unfortunately, all I can see is the driver’s number, so I can’t determine what city it might be.  In any case, it seems he takes enough pride in his work to commemorate the job with a portrait.  It’s an interesting composition, with the uniform that is at once dapper and proletarian, the rustic tablecloth, the almost haphazard pile of pretty flowers (or is it a bouquet?), all posed in a simple, direct way in front of a luxe scene on a painted backdrop.  It’s an odd mixture of elements that somehow works very well for me.  I wonder if it would work as well in color.  Incidentally, note also what appears to be a posing stand in use behind him.

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8 comments on “Conductor”

  1. Love it, and your description! I don’t *think* that big trouser cuffs were a fashion thing then; my impression is that his pants are hand-me-downs.

    • Thanks! Yes, I noticed the cuffs, too. I thought perhaps they were just poorly altered. Now that I think about it, I wonder what would have constituted the uniform, meaning, I wonder what the employer would have provided, besides the hat and jacket. Would the pants have been his own? I suppose that’s likely.

  2. Or they could have been handed down from a previous conductor. I do remember an F. Scott Fitzgerald story about working in the railroad yard in the 1910s, in which the protagonist was required to buy his own overalls, but I don’t know if that would apply here.

  3. Hey, look–I was waiting for something to process, so I idly searched “trolley conductor uniform 1905,” and got this (from 1898, though)–doesn’t it look so similar? From Maryland: https://www.flickr.com/photos/60861613@N00/4891387056/

  4. This might be relevant–another pic of the same guy, on the job!
    http://www.flickriver.com/photos/60861613@N00/9059652533/

  5. Or maybe not the same guy–I’m not sure the ears quite match.

    • Either way, thanks for the fun pictures. I googled a bit before posting, too, to make sure I was correct in thinking it was a trolley conductor’s uniform, but I didn’t see these images.


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