Back ] Home ] Up ] Next ]  

Early Office Museum

Antique Office Photographs 
~ 1912-1914 ~

When no date is provided in the Description column below, we do not know the date of the image or photograph.  
We have placed undated images and photographs in their likely chronological order.
If the Source in the right-hand column is anything other than "Early Office Museum Archives," 
we do not have the ability to grant permission for use or to provide a high resolution image.

Click Image to Enlarge

Description Source
1911 1913 Colby Motor Co Aline Colby Griffin her uncle James A Colby Mgr Hugh Murphy OM.jpg (454208 bytes)

1910 Colby Motor Co advertisement small.jpg (454208 bytes)
1910 Colby Motor Co. advertisement
Office of the Colby Motor Co., Mason City, IA, 1912 or 1913. Mason City is located in north-central Iowa near the border with Minnesota. In 1910 its population was 11,230.

In the center of the photo is James A. Colby (1878-1954), Vice President. On the left is the company stenographer, his niece, Aline Colby (Aline Colby Griffin after her 1923 marriage) (1891-1964). On the right is Hugh S. Murphy, Manager.

The Colby Motor Co. was founded in 1910 by William Martin Colby (1875-1926), who served as President. William Colby had previously built successful companies that produced cement, bricks, tiles, and sewer pipes. William and James Colby were brothers; a third brother, Dwight Colby, also worked at the company.

In a 1954 letter, Aline Colby Griffin stated that this photo shows "the various trophies won by the old Colby car - various models. The Model H, which sold for $1750 during those years [see advertisement to the left], won the large trophy on the safe for its Endurance Run [from Minneapolis, Minnesota] to Helena, Montana, in 1912." The 40-horsepower Model H was also called the Colby 40.

"The five other trophies were presented to the Colby Motor Company for various other races - one I am sure was awarded for the Colby Red Devil, a racing car." It seems likely that all five of these trophies were won by the Red Devil during 1911. In Oct. 1911, Colby's race driver, Bill Pearce, died when the Red Devil went off the track while he was practicing at high speed. The Red Devil was repaired but reportedly did not raced again.

In 1912 the Colby Motor Co. introduced a 30-HP Model L underslung roadster priced at $1250. In 1913 the company introduced a 60-HP 6-cylinder Model C-Six and a 50-HP Model E.

Late in 1913 it was reported that the Colby Motor Co. had been acquired by a group of investors and renamed the Standard Motor Co., and that the new company intended to manufacture Colby cars as well as other vehicles at the Mason City factory. This acquisition may not have been consummated; as we will see below, the Colby Motor Co. went into receivership in 1915.

According to a 1955 publication, "Competition from Detroit, closer to the source of raw materials and more able to use mass production economies, finally sounded the knell of the Mason City enterprise. In 1915 the Colby Motor Company went into receivership." (Mason City Globe Gazette, Feb. 21, 1955, p. 6)

Second-hand accounts published long after 1915 indicate that the Colby Motor Co. produced a total of no more than 1000 cars; these accounts do not identify the source of the production figures, so the number may not be accurate.

A 1911 Colby Model D Semi-racer is in the Kinney Pioneer Museum, Mason City, IA. That museum states that this is the only surviving Colby car.
Early Office 
Museum Archives
1912_Renaud_Leveque_et_Tripette_Paris_France_OM.jpg (454208 bytes) General View of the Office, Renaud, Lèvêque et Tripette, Paris, France, 1912.  We found no information on a company with this name.  However, as of 1910, Renaud et Tripette, a French company, supplied machinery for use by producers of seeds, and as of 2011 Tripette et Renaud, a French company, supplied a range of machinery used in handling grain. Early Office 
Museum Archives
1912_Office_Vault_Protectograph_Burroughs_Calendar_City_Nat_Bank_Clinton_IA_OM.jpg (268741 bytes) Office with vault, Iowa, 1912.  The vault is through the elaborate doorway at the rear of the room.  There is a Protectograph check protector on the high desk and a Burroughs Adding Machine next to the desk.  A wall calendar advertises the City National Bank of Clinton, Iowa.  This may be an office in that bank, or in a branch of that bank. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_with_many_Bar-Locks_England_low.jpg (89166 bytes) Office with eleven typists using Bar-Lock typewriters, England, 1912. Dated by wall calendar. Early Office
Museum Archives
Curtis Publishing Co. Circulation Dept. Postcard nd.JPG (37102 bytes) Correspondence Division, Circulation Department, Curtis Publishing Co., Philadelphia, PA, postcard, postmarked 1912. Cyrus H. K. Curtis began a publishing business in Philadelphia in 1876 and started publishing The Ladies Home Journal in 1883. In 1890, Curtis formed the Curtis Publishing Co. and took over publication of The Saturday Evening Post. On left, workers, virtually all male, are using dictating machines. On right, other workers, all female, are using transcription machines and typewriters. Early Office 
Museum Archives
Subscription_Div_Circulation_Dept_Curtis_Publishing_Co_Phila_PA_OM.jpg (110533 bytes) Subscription Division, Circulation Department, Curtis Publishing Co., Philadelphia, PA, postcard.  See preceding row. Private collection
1912_Office_15_Men_10_Women_Indianapolis_IN_OM.jpg (267155 bytes) Office with 15 men and 10 women, Indianapolis, IN, 1912. Early Office
Museum Archives
1912 Ticket Office with calendar for Denver & Rio Grande RR. Order duplicates from A.N.Aveldson Minneapolis stamped on back OM.jpg (267155 bytes) Ticket Office with calendar for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. According to Wikipedia, the Denver & Rio Grande started as a narrow gauge line running south from Denver, CO, in 1870. It served mainly as a transcontinental bridge line between Denver and Salt Lake City, UT. This railroad had a motto Through the Rockies and operated the highest mainline rail line in the US, over the 10,240 feet Tennessee Pass in Colorado. At its height around 1890, this railroad had the largest operating narrow gauge network in North America. Early Office
Museum Archives
Milwaukee Sentinel Office Jos Brown Photo Milwaukee WI OM.jpg (267155 bytes) General Office, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI. The Milwaukee Sentinel was founded in 1839. In 1995 it merged with the Milwaukee Journal to become the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Early Office
Museum Archives
Man_in_mining_company_office_1_OM.jpg (304032 bytes)Man_in_mining_company_office_2_OM.jpg (214566 bytes)Man_in_mining_company_office_3_OM.jpg (256139 bytes) Three photos of the same man in his office.  This office appears to be at a mining company because there are ore samples on the top of the roll-top desk and on and in a cabinet.  

The photograph above the desk is identified as "Georgetown, Colorado ~ Union Pacific Railroad."  Georgetown was a center for silver mining from 1864, when silver was discovered, until 1893, when there was a financial panic and depression.  For a time during that period, Georgetown is said to have been the largest producer of silver in the world.  

A calendar on top of the desk in the first photograph advertises "Salt Lake City Brewing Co."  Salt Lake City Brewing was founded by Jacob Moritz and operated from 1881 until at least 1912.
Early Office
Museum Archives
Order Entry Dept Sears, Roebuck & Co, Chicago, c. 1913, NMAH.jpg (55145 bytes) Order Entry Department, Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago, IL, c. 1913. Workers are using Oliver typewriters. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History.
1913_City_Room_Detroit_News_OM.jpg (444078 bytes) City Room at The Detroit News, Detroit, MI, 1913.  "Newsmen at work in city room:  Arthur Hathaway and behind him William Chattick. Fred Janette at desk in rear."  One of the other men is W. S. Gilmore.  The Detroit News began publication in 1873 and was still being published in 2010.  This photo is dated by a wall calendar. Fred E. Janette was an editor by 1900 and was state editor in 1912 when Hathaway was hired by the newspaper. Arthur I. Hathaway (1891-1985) was city editor at least during 1942-48.  W. S. Gilmore (b. 1885) was managing editor in 1931 and editor-in-chief during 1933-1953.  During 1942-43, Gilmore was president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). Early Office
Museum Archives
1913 Two Men in Office 375 OM.jpg (444078 bytes) Two men in an office. The man in the foreground is using a dip pen and ink well and working on large ledgers. Early Office
Museum Archives
Salem 1913 SJ790.JPG (35693 bytes) Office of the Statesman Journal, Salem, OR, c.1913. Co-owner Carl Abrams reads at desk on far right while Mrs. Abrams types at a roll-top desk center and O.K. DeWitt, smoking a cigar, reads copy. Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Database, Salem Public Library, Salem, Oregon, Record No. SJ790.
Accounting_Dept_C_G_Conns_Band_Instrument_Factory_OM.jpg (339233 bytes) Accounting Department, C. G. Conn's Band Instrument Factory, Elkhart, IN, 1913.  C. G. Conn and its successor company, Conn-Selmar, a subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments, have produced band instruments since 1875. Click here and here to read the company history.  There are two Burroughs adding machines in the office. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Gaint_Clothing_Store__Muskegon_MI.jpg (137029 bytes) Office of Gaint Clothes Store, Muskegon, MI, photograph by Ladd & Son. There is a Comptometer Model A calculating machine (sold 1904-06) in front of the woman on the left. The man behind her is working on a Burroughs Class 1 Adding Machine. Early Office
Museum Archives
1913 Office Two Men Dictating Three Women Transcribing OM.jpg (137029 bytes) Office with two men using dictating machines and three women using transcribing machines, 1913. Dated by calendar top left. [To be rescanned using a larger scanner.] Early Office
Museum Archives
1913 Office with Calendars Advertising Brick and Lumber Companies OM.jpg (137029 bytes) Office with calendars advertising brick and lumber companies, 1913. Early Office
Museum Archives
Dictaphone_Corp_Office_Brockton_MA_OM.jpg (322021 bytes) Office, Dictaphone Corp., Brockton, MA.  This office has 16 Model 6 Dictaphone transcription machines. On the second desk on the left sits an American Adder (a.k.a. American Adding Machine No. 5), which was introduced in 1913. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_Office_with_15_men_Remington_11_OM.jpg (218309 bytes) Office with fifteen men and a Remington No. 11 typewriter, 1914. Early Office
Museum Archives
DPL Office interior 1914 20003472 Looks earlier Y.jpg (33973 bytes) Office interior, Denver, Colorado. 1914. Photograph includes a letter copying press and a safe with the lettering "The Colorado Mattress Factory" and "The Sharpiot Safe Co., Denver, Colo." Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, William W. Cecil Collection, codhawp 10001445.
1914 W. K. Boudreau Ewing MO e.JPG (44289 bytes) Office at agricultural business, Ewing, MO, 1914. Large sign on desk reads "W. K. Boudreau, Ewing, MO." Date is from wall calendar advertising a St. Louis, MO, grain merchant. Other advertisements on wall are for seed and a livestock merchant. There are two wall telephones. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Two_Seated_Men_OM.jpg (306979 bytes) Office with two seated men, a pigeon hole filing system, and a large letter copying press. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914 County Commissioners Cincinnati OH e.JPG (51761 bytes) County Commissioners' office in Court House, probably Cincinnati, OH, 1914. Date and location are from a wall calendar advertising a Cincinnati, OH, business. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_Sadalia_music_store_Oliver_copying_press.jpg (75946 bytes) Office at Sedalia Music Store, Sedalia, MO, 1914. Office contains a roll-top desk, safe, Oliver typewriter, and letter copying press. Ragtime pianist Scott Joplin was active in Sedalia around 1900. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_Tax_Office_Barber_County_KS.jpg (175812 bytes) Barber County Tax Office, Medicine Lodge, KS, 1914.  Barber County is located in southcentral Kansas, near the border with Oklahoma.  Three ledgers on the counter have the title "Tax Roll 1914 Barber County."  A Baby Defiance Check Protector, which was advertised during 1902-15, is on the counter in front of the woman.  A Burroughs adding-listing machine is on a stand front right in the photo.. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_Office_with_Two_Women_at_Desk.jpg (152206 bytes) Office with two women working at a long desk, 1914.  There is a Hotchkiss No. 1 stapler on the desk, an interesting file cabinet, and a set of three glass front sectional bookcases. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_Office_with_Insurance_Co_Calendars_OM2.JPG (134915 bytes) Office with several women working with ledgers, Rochester, NY, 1914.  Located and dated by wall calendars, one of which advertises the Amsden Kalbfleisch Insurance Co. and the other Dutton's Insurance Office.  Both of these companies were insurance agencies in Rochester, NY. Early Office
Museum Archives
Two Women in Office with Pencil Sharpener OM.jpg (32602 bytes) Two women in office. The woman at the right is using a manual adding machine, perhaps a Burroughs Class 3. Above the elbow of the woman at the left is a Universal check protector manufactured by the Universal Manufacturing Co., Boston, MA. On a post on the right edge of the image is a Dexter Pencil Sharpener, a machine that was introduced in 1914 by the Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., Chicago, IL. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Three_Men_Lots_of_Papers.jpg (207894 bytes) Office with three men and lots of papers. Early Office
Museum Archives
Franco_American_Hygienic_Co_Office_Chicago_perfumes_and_toilet_articles.jpg (260380 bytes) General Offices, Franco-American Hygienic Company, Chicago, IL.  The company manufactured and distributed perfumes and toilet articles.  There is a Burroughs adding machine front right in the photo. Early Office
Museum Archives
1917_Bookkeeping_Dept_Nat_Benefit_Assoc_Wash_DC_Progress.jpg (253548 bytes) "Bookkeeping Department, National Benefit Association, Washington, DC," c. 1911-1916. Kelly Miller & Joseph R. Gay. Progress and Achievements of the Colored People, 1913, 1917.  In Early Office Museum Archives.
1917_Stenographers_Progress.jpg (254033 bytes) "Stenography in a Well Equipped Office," c. 1911-1916.  The two typists are using Oliver typewriters. Kelly Miller & Joseph R. Gay. Progress and Achievements of the Colored People, 1913, 1917.  In Early Office Museum Archives.
1917_Lawyer_Presents_Case_to_Judge_Wash_DC_Progress.JPG (253094 bytes) "A Prominent Lawyer Presenting his Case to Judge R. H. Terrell, who is a Colored Judge of a Municipal Court in Washington, DC," 1911 or 1916.  Assuming the photograph was taken in the 1910s, it was taken in 1911 or 1916 because a wall calendar shows that September began on Friday. Kelly Miller & Joseph R. Gay. Progress and Achievements of the Colored People, 1913, 1917.  In Early Office Museum Archives..
Two_men_in_office_circular_image_full.jpg (156171 bytes)
Two_men_in_office_circular_image_detail.jpg (187775 bytes)
 Two men in an office.  The lower image is a detail of the upper photo. Early Office
Museum Archives
Office_Twenty_Men_One_Woman_at_Typewriter_OM.jpg (251123 bytes) Office with twenty men and one woman, who is at a typewriter.  The men toward the rear of the room and the men visible through the door are working at standing or book-keepers' desks. Early Office 
Museum Archives
Office_Railroad_Station_Worcester_2.jpg (191636 bytes)

Office_Railroad_Station_Worcester_1.jpg (186778 bytes)

Offices, "Railroad Station, Worcester."  These two photos show different areas in which the desks, light fixtures, and paneling match.  The two photos show 23 men, most of whom are working at large partner desks, and 3 women, one of whom is at a typewriter. The top photo contains a map of the New York Central Lines.  The bottom photo contains a calendar advertising Northwestern Mutual.   Early Office
Museum Archives
General_Office_Alexander_Hamilton_Institute_NYC_c_1914_OM.jpg (308470 bytes)
General Office
Service_Dept_Alexander_Hamilton_Institute_NYC_c_1914_OM.jpg (264481 bytes)

Service Department
Statistics_Room_Alexander_Hamilton_Institute_NYC_c_1914_OM.jpg (291786 bytes)
Statistics Department
File_Room_Alexander_Hamilton_Institute_NYC_c_1914_OM.jpg (294005 bytes)
File Room
Interiors of four offices at the Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI), New York, NY.  The AHI, which was founded in 1906, sold books designed to enable businessmen to study business subjects at their homes and offices without going to a college.  The books were also used in some business colleges.  AHI advertisements had a motivational, self-help message. Three of the photographs include APSCO Dexter Pencil Sharpeners, which were introduced in 1914. The AHI still exists, but its orientation has changed.  It now sells to employers services relating to labor relations. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914_First_National_Bank_of_Omaha_NE_OM.jpg (301701 bytes) Interior of First National Bank, York, NE, 1914.  The words "First National Bank" appear above the doorway into the vault. There is a 1914 calendar advertising Drovers National Bank (presumably Drovers National Bank of Chicago, which failed in 1978).  This calendar has a picture of the Kansas City Stockyards (which operated in Kansas City from 1871 to 1991).  Another calendar advertised the Omaha National Bank. While barely visible, there is an adding-listing machine at the right hand of the second man from the left. Early Office
Museum Archives
1914 Office Philadelphia Electric Co Phildelphia PA detail OM.jpg (301701 bytes) Large office at Philadelphia Electric Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1914. Twenty-seven workers are visible, of which five are women. Early Office
Museum Archives

Return to Top of this Page 

Photographs are copyrighted. All rights are reserved by the copyright holder, the owner of the photograph, and the Early Office Museum.
We have no ability to grant permission to use photographs unless "Early Office Museum Archives" appears in the right column.


© 2000-2016.  All material on the Early Office Museum web site is copyrighted.  All rights are reserved.

First, you must not plagiarize our material.  Plagiarism is the act of passing off as your own the words, photographs, or other work of someone else.  That is, not giving appropriate credit.  Second, you must not violate our copyright, which means you may not use any images or text from the Early Office Museum web site in publications, in direct mailing material, on web sites, in auction listings, or anywhere else without written permission from the Curator.  In some cases, images belong to someone else, and we cannot give permission.  If you make a non-infringing use of information from this web site, please cite the Early Office Museum and provide a link or our web address (
or  If you believe that we have not given appropriate credit for your work or have violated your copyright, please email the curator so we can resolve the matter.