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Thread: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

  1. #76

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

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ID:	48138 Circa 1920 group Gibson Photo.

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ID:	48140 Most seem to be wearing these "Newsboy" hats or fedoras which were popular in the twenties.

  2. #77
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    I think the hats they are wearing in the factory were probably a standard uniform type item worn to keep the sawdust out of their hair and probably weren't a fashion that was worn outside the plant. The hats in TEE's photo above were quite common for that time period and would have been in fashion for working class men. I would think that most would have taken them off and put them in their locker so as to not get them dirty at work. This thread is certainly introducing a side of Gibson we haven't seen here before.

  3. #78

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

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    The hat below is a Conductors hat worn by conductors and brakemen and freight agents in the early 1900's. The second photo is from the Smithsonian.

    It looks like a match to me.

    My guess is that the two wearing hats are either delivering the wood or are freight agents of some sort. It would also explain the pen and watchchain also.

    Neither would be the conductor because his hat although the same style would have a pin or insignia attached denoting his importance.

    Here's the Smithsonian link..http://americanhistory.si.edu/ONTHEM...object_74.html
    Last edited by TEE; Dec-06-2009 at 11:27pm. Reason: forgot Link

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  5. #79
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    The hats in the photo appear to be a little softer on the top. There is also a photo of a guy working in the shop in the same hat in this thread. I don't think the freight handlers would be paying that much attention to the wood but hey, anything is possible.

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    Mandol'Aisne Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Fedoras and Panamas were popular with men until about 1960, when John F. Kennedy was campaigning and then elected President. He did not wear a heat as a rule, and most men stopped wearing hats then too.

    Love the pictures! But to be real useful in investigating the history exemplified in the image, they need to be high res.

    Daniel

  7. #81

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    The conductor hats were made of black cloth with a patent leather brim so I imagine the cloth part would not keep it's form with use.

    Look closely at the eyelets in both hats. (the conductor hat and the guy on the right) the eyelets appear to be in the same place.

    The other guys brim looks the same but his hat looks like it's been through the ringer a time or two.

  8. #82
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Granted, this is 1936.
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  9. #83

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Thats a Detroit Tigers baseball hat.
    Last edited by TEE; Dec-07-2009 at 12:45am. Reason: I had to look at the hat more.

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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post

    ... Obviously office guys who went down to the wood area to pose for some pictures to try to show involvement with the manufacturing process. Pictures like that often are set up by the photographer,

    Photographer: "Can we get some pictures with you guys down in the shop?"
    Office guys: "Well, we could go down and get some pictures of us picking out some wood..."

    Who knows...
    John,
    You know the photographer never has any say in the matter, usually just following the guidelines set by the people who hired him to shoot the photos.

    Photographer: "This looks sort of staged and fake..."
    PR genius: "...And your point would be....?"

  11. #85

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by TEE View Post
    Thats a Detroit Tigers baseball hat.
    Or one of these...

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  12. #86
    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Granted, this is 1936.
    This photo reminds me of my tour of the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth a few years back. I just loved the aroma of all that wood. Aahhh!!

  13. #87
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by man dough nollij View Post
    According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong, right?...), there was a 121 film format between 1902 and 1941. I'm guessing that what the Kodak label meant.
    Exactly. 121 is the film format. For example, 120 is still in use today.

    Because of the pile of wood in back, I wonder if this is not a photo of the wood supplier's warehouse stock and Gibson personnel selecting wood for their needs, llustrating how they hand select the wood for instruments.
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  14. #88
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Stec View Post
    This photo reminds me of my tour of the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth a few years back. I just loved the aroma of all that wood. Aahhh!!
    The Martin tour is a great tour.

  15. #89

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. E View Post
    Exactly. 121 is the film format. For example, 120 is still in use today.

    Because of the pile of wood in back, I wonder if this is not a photo of the wood supplier's warehouse stock and Gibson personnel selecting wood for their needs, llustrating how they hand select the wood for instruments.
    The thought has occured to me that the guys wearing the patent leather billed conductor hats (if thats what they are) could have been Gibson employees that worked in shipping and recieving and thus were photographed with a load of wood or agents from a wood supplier that shipped the wood to Gibson. If they were involved with shipping it could explain the hats as they would be dealing with shipping clerks and shipping people daily who wore those hats.

  16. #90
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    I stand corrected on my statement of Gibson not being a union shop.

    In regard to war production, Julius Bellson wrote this in The Gibson Story: "Electrical and mechanical radar assemblies were made for Western Electric, Crosley, RCA, Zenith, and other major prime contractors. Small intricate screw machines products and glider skids were manufactured for the Army, Navy and Air Corps Ordnance Departments. Hundreds of thousands of precision rods used in sub-machine guns were delivered to Guide Lamp of Anderson, Indiana."

    The wood does not appear to be for glider skids to my mind. The menswear appears to be 1920s style, in my opinion.

    Gibson also made wooden toys from 1931-33. Perhaps they used scrap lumber for them. It would be intersting to see what type of wood they were made from. As a sailor, I would love to find one of their toy sailboats to put on my mantel!

  17. #91
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    I'm sure that Gibson used scrap lumber when they went into toy production. It was an attempt to stay afloat during the depression and it would have made sense to use something you were going to toss anyway to make some money and keep the plant open.

  18. #92
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by DHoffmeyer View Post
    John,
    You know the photographer never has any say in the matter, usually just following the guidelines set by the people who hired him to shoot the photos.
    Actually, my experience from working 'at the factory' when photos were being taken for promotional material has been that the graphics arts people who are hired to design and produce the material call the shots, it's not really the photographer or the management of the business. The point is, the whole setup with the different looking wood, the guys with neck ties and so forth might not have anything to do with normal daily goings on. It simply looks like a posed picture for some sort of promotional material.
    It always amuses me to see a luthier's or shop's color brochure with a picture of hands working at a bench with a few carefully placed wood chips and an artistically arranged clutter of clean tools and instrument parts lying around in the way. No basis in reality, but it looks good on the page.

  19. #93
    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    In general, a "Guild" would be a Union. Skilled workers formed Guilds dating back hundreds of years. Skilled woodworkers/luthiers would be a likely group to be Guild members. When I was a mere lad, I was a member of the American Newspaper Guild. That was, in fact, a Union.
    There is reference in "The Sounding Board' to the 'printer's strike', which was probably at another local Union shop.
    Many Guild members would/could/might wear special hats indicating their membership in the organization.

  20. #94
    Registered User chasray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    It simply looks like a posed picture for some sort of promotional material.
    I agree.

  21. #95
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    I think it was a posed photos as well. I'm assuming these guys were managers of one type or another, perhaps executives and that they wanted to show that they were in touch with this aspect of the business. It could have been a publication for their retailers, their employees, or their stockholders. It's certainly not your run of the mill photo of workers in the plant like this one is.
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  22. #96
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by evanreilly View Post
    In general, a "Guild" would be a Union. Skilled workers formed Guilds dating back hundreds of years. Skilled woodworkers/luthiers would be a likely group to be Guild members. When I was a mere lad, I was a member of the American Newspaper Guild. That was, in fact, a Union.
    There is reference in "The Sounding Board' to the 'printer's strike', which was probably at another local Union shop.
    Many Guild members would/could/might wear special hats indicating their membership in the organization.
    Agree, but the "Guild" referred to in the Sounding Board Salesman was not a labor organization. The American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists, and
    Guitarists was more of a "professional" association with members being musicians, teachers, enthusiasts, etc.
    John Kasley
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  23. #97
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    I have zero basis, but the original posted photo looks '30's to me for some reason. Based on the lighting it would suggest that they are just inside of a large overhead door
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Which makes sense Darryl. The factories I worked in had the wood supply racked just inside large doors, where it was inspected and loaded in from suppliers. Right next to rough milling, where it was crosscut and ripped, and laid up for gluing, planing, and then into adjacent finish milling area.
    Last edited by Jonathan Reinhardt; Dec-07-2009 at 5:20pm.

  25. #99

    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    It also explains another thing. Hats (of any kind) would not be worn inside the building in that era.

  26. #100
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting early Gibson factory photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. E View Post
    Exactly. 121 is the film format. For example, 120 is still in use today.
    So since 121 is rollfilm, how do you explain the sheet film notch?

    I think someone (probably in the '40s) took a 4x5 photo (perhaps using a copystand) of an original 121 enlargement. Of course that doesn't help us figure out when the original was taken..

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