Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bicycle Passengers

Over the years I have seen many different "styles" for taking an extra passenger on a bicycle, including this one scene in this picture from 1921. For this style, the passenger rides sidesaddle on the bar in front of the driver. This works OK for a smaller passenger. Most of the bicycles like this one that I remember had some sort of rack behind the seat, and a passenger could sit straddling the rack. The worst technique that I have witnessed, which almost always ended in disaster was to have the passenger ride seated on the handlebars, with legs straddling the front wheel, and feet resting on the tine nut on each side of the front wheel axle.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Bicycle

Today's picture shows a boy with a new bicycle outside a bicycle shop. The bike looks to have lots of neat accessories, and looks to be a high end model. The picture was taken in 1921.

When I was a kid, one of the neatest accessories for a bicycle was a siren. They had these sirens that mounted down near the tire. When you pulled a little chain, the siren was brought into contact with the edge of the tire, and the tire would cause the siren to spin, and it put out a really LOUD siren sound. It sounded like one of the old air raid sirens. Neat thing about it was that it did not take batteries, so you could us it as much as you wanted. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Children and Bicycle

Today's picture is from 1921, but I actually remember this was the style of bicycles when I was a child in the 1960's. The handlebars were big and wide. The seat was a saddle style that was well padded, and had springs underneath. The seats were very comfortable. The bikes had headlights, but unfortunately battery technology was not very good, so the lights were not bright and the batteries died after a few minutes. Another feature was the bikes had fenders, so the tires would not sling water on you if you went through a puddle.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beach Cyclist

Today's picture shows some cyclist on the beach in Florida. It looks like they have some sails connected to the bicycles to carry them down the beach with the wind. I am guessing they have to pedal back. The picture was taken in 1910.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Welcome to Bike Week here at OPOD. The picture above is from 1938, and shows a young man decorating his bicycle.

One of the biggest changes I see between my childhood and today is the relative importance of a bicycle. When I was a child your bike was your most important and cherished possession. Today it would have to be an iphone or Xbox probably. When I was a child just about everyone rode their bicycle to school, and the school had rows and rows of nice bike racks that you could park your bicycle in. I find it interesting that this same school today does not even have a  bike rack, and no one rides a bike to school. Bikes were great fun, kept you fit, and taught all types of wonderful life lessons. It is sad that this tradition has pretty much faded away.

So, I hope you all will share stories this week about your childhood bicycle.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mess Hall

We wrap up Summer Camp week with  this picture of a camp mess hall. The picture was taken in 1919 at Camp Ramachqua. One thing that strikes me about this picture is how fit and trim all the boys are.  No sugary sodas at this camp you can be sure.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Camp Fire

Another great part of Summer Camp was camp fires, and singing and telling stories around the fire. This picture shows such a scene from 1943. The picture was taken at a camp in New York.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Water Sports

Today's picture shows some young people at summer camp playing water games. I think one of the best things about summer camp was the water. Most summer camps are on either nice rivers or lakes, and are well equipped for enjoying the water. This picture was taken in 1942.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eating Ice Cream

Today's picture shows a young lady enjoying an ice cream cone at summer camp. the picture was taken at a camp in Michigan in 1942. I can not remember having ice cream at summer camp, but maybe that was just the camps I went to.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Home

Ah yes, an important part of summer camp . . . writing home. This picture was taken in 1942 in a summer camp in Michigan. It seems so foreign now to write a letter by hand. It has probably been decades since I hand wrote a letter. I bet some of you still hold to the wonderful old tradition of hand writing letters.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Camp Eating

Today's picture shows some young men eating at Summer Camp. It appears that they are eating pretty well. When I was young, I would go to Boy Scout summer camp and the food was usually pretty good there. The camps were along a river, so there was lots of water activities like swimming, canoeing, and boating. Overall, lots of fun.

Friday, April 18, 2014


We wrap up Train Travel Week with this picture from 1909. It shows a group of passengers, and conductor on a train car. Travel used to be a big event, and you can see from this picture what a special occasion it was.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Observation Car

Today's picture is from around 1920, and it shows some passengers in the observation car of a passenger train. From the looks of it, I would guess you needed some sort of first class ticket to access this car.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Train Depot

This is a picture of the Grand Trunk Depot in Durand Michigan, and what a Grand Depot it is! The picture was taken around 1900. This is a very busy place, and it looks like trains are arriving and departing from all different directions.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Train Depot

Today's picture shows the train station at Duluth, Minnesota. I love these old steam locomotives. There are still a few you can ride today. The best is probably the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge. If you have never had the chance to ride on it, put it on your list. Today's picture was taken in 1910.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Union Station

Today's picture shows the Union Station in Washington DC. My observation looking at this picture is that 1963 looks a lot more like 1943 than 1983. That is to say, things changed much more in the next twenty years than they had in the previous twenty years.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Train Deck

This is a curious picture from 1920 of passengers riding on the deck of a train car. The fabulous scenery, and lack of cover of the train car would possibly suggest that this was some sort of sightseeing ride. However, the passengers appear to be mostly men, and the men appear somewhat disinterested in the scenery. So I must say that I am not quiet sure what is going on here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Train Travel

Welcome to Train Travel Week here at OPOD. I hope you join us as we look back on the days when you could ride the rails from one side of the country to the other. I have always loved trains, and think that there is something fascinating by traveling this way. Today's picture shows people loading on a train, but unfortunately it is not a happy ride. The picture was taken in 1942, and the people are being shipped out to relocation centers. They are Japanese citizens in California being required to report to internment camps.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Galveston Beach

We wrap up Aviator Week with this picture of the Galveston Beach in 1913. You can see an airplane flying overhead, and an old race car running along the shore. What exciting days those must have been.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Today's picture shows a very early single wind aircraft. The airplane was known as a Bleriot after its designer. The picture was taken in 1915.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Today's picture shows an early version of a Seaplane. The picture was taken June 22, 1914. It was the launch of the first Curtiss Model H Flying Boat. The picture was taken near Hammondsport, New York.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Today's picture was from 1911, and it shows wreckage being cleaned up from an Army airplane crash. The crash occurred at the College Park Aviation Field. I love how this picture shows the airplane wreckage, and old automobile, and a horse drawn buggy in the background.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Today's picture shows the first official Airmail Flight in the United States. You can see the postman handing off the bag of letters to the pilot. The picture was taken in 1911 in Long Island, New York.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Welcome to Aviator Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at people and planes from the early days of air travel. We start with this picture from around 1915. It shows A. D. Smith, who was an early Army Test Pilot. He is posed on a Hydroplane he was testing. It looks like it is the wing segment of the plane, with a mounted engine.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Shipyard Workers

We wrap up Construction Worker Week with this picture from the Manitowoc Navy Shipyard in Wisconsin. The picture shows two of the workers at the facility with what looks like some sort of large chisels. The picture was taken in 1942.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Power Line

Today's picture shows a construction worker helping to run an electric power line. The picture was taken near Fort Knox in Kentucky. The picture was taken in 1942.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grand Coulee Dam

Today's picture shows construction workers moving a large pipe. The picture is from the Grand Coulee Dam project in Washington State. The picture was taken around 1940.