Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

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

14 thoughts on “Fixing the foundation

  1. Alan BURNETT says:

    I think your theory is right. The photographs illustrate what fine work can be produced by the workman in question. Finding a decent craftsman these days is almost impossible, pity that the fellow concerned must be long retired.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Occasionally I run across a true craftsman and when I do I make sure their contact info is retained *and* passed around to everyone I know!


  2. Bob Scotney says:

    They make a fine record of work to be done and the finished product,


  3. Maybe it is a haunted house? Great pictures, and right on theme.

    Kathy M.


  4. Jana Last says:

    Interesting that these specific photos were kept with the family photos. They must have meant something to the family. And a tie with overalls? Quite interesting as well.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I was wondering if it was the family home?


  5. Like Jana I believe these pictures must have been meaningful one way or the other. Maybe it was the family home?


  6. tattered and lost says:

    My father had an apron just like this fellow is wearing. It must be around somewhere. He always had his extendable ruler and pencil in one of the pockets when he was building something or other.


  7. Monica T says:

    Good thinking, using the camera for documentation like that… Today we’d just snap a shot with our cellphones!


  8. The house has a rotten sill on that corner of the foundation. It was then and still is a common problem with houses. Maybe termite damage. The under part was built on piers and meant to be open for air circulation rather than bricked up as it would be today, as it made it cheaper to build. Today most carpenters would use a cellphone camera to document their work. These snaps might t have been intended for an absentee landlord. I like how the rot is documented as well as the repair. A quality workman!


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I used to live in one of these foundation homes and during a major windstorm one year I was certain it would be blown right off the piers! It wasn’t but I certainly did not sleep a wink that night.


  9. Wendy says:

    It looks like the overalls are actually OVER other clothes. Maybe he slipped on the overalls while crawling around inspecting the work to be done, and took them off when he met with clients or drove to the building supply.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      That makes a lot of sense. They were used to protect the clothing, much like an apron or those white bunny suits we see today.


  10. IntenseGuy says:

    They may have actually MOVED this building to a new location. They seemed to do that fairly often “back in the day.”


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