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22 Vintage Photos Show What America Looked Like When Alcohol Was Illegal During the 1920s and ’30s

The prohibition of alcohol in the United States lasted for 13 years during the 1920s and 30s. It is one of most famous—or infamous—times in recent American history. While the intention was to reduce the consumption of alcohol by eliminating businesses that manufactured, distributed, and sold it, the plan backfired.

Considered by many as a failed social and political experiment, the era changed the way many Americans viewed alcoholic beverages. It also enhanced the realization that federal government control cannot always take the place of personal responsibility.

We associate the Prohibition era with gangsters, bootleggers, speakeasies, rum-runners, and an overall chaotic situation in respect to the social network of Americans. The period began in 1920 with general acceptance by the public. It ended in 1933 as the result of the public’s annoyance with the law and the ever-increasing enforcement nightmare.

Police in New York City pour liquor from a barrel down a sewer during a 1921 raid. (Graphicaartis / Getty Images)
Tears mingle with strong beer in Newark, New Jersey, as prohibition agents destroy the unlawful liquor seized in a Hoboken raid on June 18, 1931. (New York Daily News / Getty Images)
Huge black-and-white posters printed in bold type serve as notice that a Chicago business had been closed by the federal courts for violations of the Volstead Act. (George Rinhart / Getty Images)
A driver tries to ensure his safety with a banner on his vehicle that reads, “I’m not a Bootlegger. Don’t shoot, I’ll stop,” near the Mexico border in 1929. (Ullstein Bild / Getty Images)
The shoe of an alcohol smuggler who had been arrested at the Canadian border is strapped with wooden soles in the form of cattle hooves to camouflage their border crossing, circa 1924. (Ullstein Bild / Getty Images)

Bottles of Scotch whisky smuggled in hollowed-out loaves of bread are confiscated by police on June 12, 1924. (AP Photo)
Groups of young people playfully pose with illegal drinks, circa 1922. (Kirn Vintage Stock / Getty Images)
Two police officers drink from flasks by their car, circa 1930. (Kirn Vintage Stock / Getty Images)
A woman demonstrates how to use a Prohibition-era book to conceal a liquor flask in 1927. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
A woman uses a dummy book, titled The Four Swallows, as a hiding place for liquor during Prohibition in 1925. (Ullstein Bild / Getty Images)
A woman shows off her new initialed garter flask, which had become the latest rage in 1926. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis / Getty Images)
A potential customer examines an enterprising advertisement for an illegal speakeasy during Prohibition in the 1920s. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis / Getty Images)
Children watch as a prohibitionist destroys a barrel of beer with an ax during the 1920s. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
Police officers raid a Long Island, New York, home to find $20,000 worth of booze on Jan. 26, 1930. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
Four women chug bottles of illegal liquor, circa 1925. (Kirn Vintage Stock / Getty Images)
A woman demonstrates how her overcoat conceals two tins of booze strapped to her thighs on Sept. 3, 1928. (George Rinhart / Getty Images)
More than 40,000 demonstrators gather in Military Park, Newark, on Nov. 1, 1931, to oppose the ban of alcohol in the US. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Cullen-Harrison Act, or “Beer Bill,” the first relaxation of the Volstead Act, on Mar. 22, 1933. The new law allowed the sale of beer and wine containing 3.2% alcohol starting at midnight on April 6. (AP)
Partygoers celebrate the end of Prohibition amid a tangle of confetti and ribbons in 1933. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
Workers in Brooklyn unload cases of liquor from marble blocks, which were used to conceal alcohol before the repeal of Prohibition, in October 1933. (New York Times Co. / Getty Images)
Bartenders at Sloppy Joe’s bar in Chicago pour a round of drinks on the house for a large group of smiling customers as it was announced that the 18th Amendment had been repealed and Prohibition had been removed from the US Constitution after 13 years. (American Stock Archive / Getty Images)
A woman serves drinks to a crowd of men who are joyfully celebrating the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. (Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)
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The 100 best photographs ever taken without photoshop

Continue reading The 100 best photographs ever taken without photoshop

Old Timey Photos (from ViralDoza)

Before automatic pinsetters were invented, “pin boys” worked to manually line them up. (1914).

Before automatic pinsetters were invented,

Sarcastic photo taken by anti-prohibitionists to mock their opponents in 1919.

Sarcastic photo taken by anti-prohibitionists to mock their opponents in 1919.

A police officer on a Harley and an old fashioned mobile holding cell. (1921)

A police officer on a Harley and an old fashioned mobile holding cell. (1921)

An early example of “horsemanning”, the 1920′s version of “planking”.

An early example of

Two winners of a 1922 Beauty Pageant, when beauty standards were much different.

Two winners of a 1922 Beauty Pageant, when beauty standards were much different.

shorpy

An beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren’t too short (1920s)

An beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren't too short (1920s)

Suits were not allowed to end more than 6 inches above the knee.

A couple enjoys an old fashioned zipline on a weekend afternoon. (1923)

A couple enjoys an old fashioned zipline on a weekend afternoon. (1923)

This bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

This bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

A mildly terrifying 1920s full faced swimming mask designed to protect women from the sun.

A mildly terrifying 1920s full faced swimming mask designed to protect women from the sun.

Hitler rehearsing his speeches in front of a mirror (1925).

Hitler rehearsing his speeches in front of a mirror (1925).

The LA Public Library’s bookmobile program for the sick. (1928)

The LA Public Library’s bookmobile program for the sick. (1928)

A zookeeper gives penguins a delightful shower from a watering can. (1930)

A zookeeper gives penguins a delightful shower from a watering can. (1930)

The One Wheel Motorcycle, capable of reaching a top speed of 93 mph. (1931)

The One Wheel Motorcycle, capable of reaching a top speed of 93 mph. (1931)

A cat poses for a cigarette card, found in Army Club Cigarettes. (1932)

A cat poses for a cigarette card, found in Army Club Cigarettes. (1932)

How makers of the famous London Double-Decker buses proved they weren’t a tipping hazard. (1933)

How makers of the famous London Double-Decker buses proved they weren't a tipping hazard. (1933)

Baby cages for 1930s apartment families who wanted their children to get enough sunlight.

Baby cages for 1930s apartment families who wanted their children to get enough sunlight.

The iconic photo of a concerned pea-picker and mother of seven children during the Dust Bowl (1936)

The iconic photo of a concerned pea-picker and mother of seven children during the Dust Bowl (1936)

These glasses were specifically made for reading in bed

These glasses were specifically made for reading in bed

The 1930′s version of a GPS: This auto scrolling map was supposed to help people with directions in real time.

The 1930's version of a GPS: This auto scrolling map was supposed to help people with directions in real time.

Model T “Elevator Garage” in Chicago. (1936)

Model T

Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel sharing a smoke. (1938)

Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel sharing a smoke. (1938)

“Face Cones”: a fashionable way to protect oneself during snowstorms (1939).

A bicycle that fits a family of four, including a sewing machine. (1939).

A bicycle that fits a family of four, including a sewing machine. (1939).

Babies wearing the gas mask hood system during a 1940 London bombing drill.

Babies wearing the gas mask hood system during a 1940 London bombing drill.

WWII soldiers get their last kiss before deployment.

WWII soldiers get their last kiss before deployment.

A tiny puppy sleeping comfortably between Russian soldiers. (1945)

A tiny puppy sleeping comfortably between Russian soldiers. (1945)

An Austrian boy couldn’t be more excited about his first pair of new shoes in years. (1946)

An Austrian boy couldn't be more excited about his first pair of new shoes in years. (1946)

misslucifer

A baby bear drinks a bowl of honey in a cafe. (1950)

A baby bear drinks a bowl of honey in a cafe. (1950)

A man dresses up his dog in a suit, then puts a cat in his lap. (1950s)

A man dresses up his dog in a suit, then puts a cat in his lap. (1950s)

An ice-cold whisky dispenser, sometimes found in offices. (1950s)

An ice-cold whisky dispenser, sometimes found in offices. (1950s)

The winner of the 1950 “Miss Atomic Bomb” pageant.

The winner of the 1950

Afghan women at a public library during the 1950s.

Afghan women at a public library during the 1950s.

The Afghanistan government was shifting towards democracy in the 1950s and 60s before the Taliban took over. Women could work, become educated, dress casually and use many of the modern day services that men could.

A young Paul McCartney takes a mirror selfie. (1959)

A young Paul McCartney takes a mirror selfie. (1959)

[Colorized] Young women hosting a 1950s house party.

[Colorized] Young women hosting a 1950s house party.

Fidel Castro lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial. (1959)

Fidel Castro lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial. (1959)

The Cat-Mew Machine. (1963)

The Cat-Mew Machine. (1963)

This Japanese machine meows times per minute to scare away rats and mice. The eyes light up too.

A young woman takes her pet lobster out for a walk.

A young woman takes her pet lobster out for a walk.

Young boy attending Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, 28th Aug 1963.

Young boy attending Martin Luther King Jr's

reddit.com

The “TV Glasses” that never quite caught on. (1963)

The

The Subject of No Subject

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APRIL 2, 2014

THE SUBJECT OF NO SUBJECT
  • 1.Hijadeagricultor1919.jpg“Farmer’s Child,” 1919. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 2.Hijadeagricultor.jpgPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.
  • 3.Small-town-Women.jpg“Small-town Women,” circa 1913. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 4.Small-town-women.jpgPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.
  • 5.Pastelero1928.jpg“Pastrycook,” 1928. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 6.Pastelero2007.jpgPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.
  • 7.CistercianMonks1911.jpg“Cistercian Monks,” 1911. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 8.CistercianMonks2007.jpgPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.
  • 9.Artistasdecirco1926.jpg“Circus Workers,” 1926-32. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 10.ArtistasdeCirco2007.jpgPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.
  • 11.GirlinFairgroundCaravan1926.jpg“Girl in Fairground Caravan,” 1926-32. Photograph by August Sander.
  • 12.Girl_in_Fairground_Caravan_2007.jpegPhotograph by Michael Somoroff.

Michael Somoroff’s “Absence of Subject” is an unconventional homage to the German photographer August Sander. Starting in the nineteen-twenties, Sander, a former miner and painter, began shooting portraits for his series “People of the Twentieth Century,” a systematic effort to document a cross-section of German society. Using an eight-by-ten camera, whose large format gave his photographs a remarkable sense of immediacy, he shot tens of thousands of portraits until his death, in 1964. Of these, only eighteen hundred survive; the rest were destroyed when his studio was bombed, in 1944.

Somoroff, a photographer from New York, began digitally removing the people from Sander’s most iconic images in 2000. What started out as, in Somoroff’s words, a philosophical experiment “to emphasize this particular power and talent that Sanders had” eventually turned into a seven-year project. He collaborated with Julian Sander, August Sander’s grandson, who gave him the support that was necessary to bring the project to life. “The idea that drove ‘Absence’ is that there is a philosophical discussion in terms of our existential condition,” Somoroff told me. “What really is our relationship to God or our relationship to being? The answer to that—universally found in all religions—is that we are a part of a whole. In so being, we are an expression of a lack. In essence, ‘Absence of Subject’ is about that lack.”

August Sander photographs © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK-Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Cologne – VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2011.

Ghost Towns

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FATEHPUR SIKRI, INDIA

Built by Emperor Akbar to be the most beautiful city in the world, it was widely thought this goal was achieved – until people realized the city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today a perfectly preserved 16th-century town.

Picture: Flickr user Sikri Goove2007

 

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DECEPTION ISLAND, ANTARCTICA

A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was a popular place for scientific outposts until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs.

Picture: Flickr user Wili Hybrid

 

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 KOLMANSKOP, NAMIBIA

Travellers seeking a quiet place need look no further than the numerous towns around the world that have been abandoned for one reason or another. Travel review website IgoUgo.com has compiled a list of the top 10 ghost towns around the world based on recommendations from its readers.

Before you enter this abandoned mining town in the Namib desert, you’ll need to stop in nearby Luderitz for a permit – a holdover from the days when Kolmanskop was a free-for-all for diamond hunters. The town was at its heyday in the 1920s but abandoned in 1956. It has since been partly restored.

Picture: Flickr user Coda

 

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OATMAN, ARIZONA, US

Of the Arizona ghost towns, quirky Oatman has to be among IgoUgo members’ favourite. It’s here where wild burros roam the streets and $60,000 bills decorate the walls of the local hotel, where, incidentally, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their wedding night.

Picture: Flickr user Caveman 92223

 

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ARTLUNGA, AUSTRALIA

A favourite part of this old Outback mining town (and early European settlement) is the “loneliest pub in the scrub,” also known as the Arltunga Hotel. It’s an ideal place for lunch or a cold beer before or after exploring Arltunga which was born out of a gold rush.

Picture: Page Lovelace

 

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 GRAFTON, UTAH, US

Founded for its fertile land and abandoned largely due to conflicts with Native Americans and flooding, Grafton is most famous as the set of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The last residents left in 1944.

Picture: Flickr user Respres

 

Bizarre Animals

The popular video game and anime is known for taking inspiration from animals in real life, but with these quirky creatures, you have to wonder if it was the other way around.
Jerboa
Photo: reptiles4all
Jerboa
Jerboas are hopping rodents that thrive in the deserts of Northern Africa and Asia. Despite their status as prey animals, these adorable kangaroo-like creatures make do just fine thanks to their excellent hearing and ability to run up to 15 miles per hour.
Mantis shrimp
Photo: Shutterstock
Mantis shrimp
Also known as “thumb splitters,” these vibrant crustaceans are named in honor of their powerful claws, which can spear, stun and dismember prey with 200 pounds of force. In addition to their predatory tendencies, mantis shrimp are also distinguished for their impressive visual capabilities. The eyes of these psychedelic sea critters are equipped with 12 color receptors — humans and most other animals only have three. Scientists speculate this might enable them to process color information quickly within the eye instead going through the brain.
Shoebill stork
Photo: Shutterstock
Shoebill stork
Native to the freshwater swamps of tropical east Africa, these large, cartoon-like avians are known for their uniquely bulbous beaks. They are classified as a “vulnerable” species due to human disturbances, habitat destruction and hunting.
Blobfish
Photo: ZUMA Press
Blobfish
The frowning, gelatinous blobfish is considered one of the world’s ugliest animals, but it actually looksquite different in its native deep sea environment. As a frequent victim of bycatch, the sad, slimy creature may soon be added to the growing list of endangered species.
Fennec fox
Photo: Shutterstock
Fennec fox
Hailing from the arid, scorching sands of the Sahara desert, these cute nocturnal canids are known for their extra large ears, which dissipate heat and are sensitive enough to allow them to hear prey from underground.
Blue dragon
Photo: Imtorn/Wikimedia
Glaucus Atlanticus
You might be surprised to learn that this beautiful sea critter (also known as a sea swallow or blue dragon) is actually a sea slug. The blue and silvery mollusk is known to feed off cnidarians like the venomous Portuguese Man o’ War. What makes these gorgeous slugs even more fascinating is their practice of storing the cnidarians’s stinging nematocysts within its own tissues — ensuring a painful sting to anyone who messes with it.
Okapi
Photo: Shutterstock
Okapi
These unusual creatures were once mistaken by early European explorers as “African unicorns” before being formally recognized and classified as Okapia johnstoni in 1901. Although they may bear zebra-like stripes, these endangered ungulates are more closely related to giraffes.
Bush viper
Photo: Shutterstock
Bush viper
Found in the tropical rainforests of subsaharan Africa, bush vipers are venomous snakes known for their distinctly keeled scales. Their strong prehensile tails are perfect for supporting their weight in trees, where they spend the majority of their lives hanging and ambushing their prey.
Proboscis monkey
Photo: Shutterstock
Proboscis monkey
The clown-like, bulbous nose of this arboreal Old World monkey is hard to miss. Often exceeding 4 inches, the prominent proboscis is a result of sexual dimorphism; it is only found in males.
Streaked tenrec
Photo: Frank Vassen/Wikimedia
Lowland streaked tenrec
This quirky little guy is native to the tropical lowland forests of eastern Madagascar. The streaked tenrec is equipped with two sets of quills: barbed and nonbarbed. Similar to a porcupine, the barbed quills are used as a means of a defense against predators. The nonbarbed quills, on the other hand, are vibrated in order to emit a faint chattering that is used to communicate with family.
Coconut crab
Photo: Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia
Coconut crab
Make no mistake — those tree trunks seen above are not saplings. That’s right, those crabs are huge! Growing up to a meter in length from leg to leg, these terrestrial hermit crabs are the largest land-living arthropods in the world. Although they are omnivores that have been known to consume turtle hatchlings, they generally prefer to eat fleshy fruits and, you guessed it, coconuts!
Hummingbird hawkmoth
Photo: Jerzy Strzelecki/Wikimedia
Hummingbird hawk-moth
With its humming, hovering and long, thin proboscis, it’s no wonder this species is having an identity crisis. That said, Macroglossum stellatarum is most definitely a moth, and its resemblance to a hummingbird is the result of convergent evolution.
Giant isopod
Photo: Borgx/Wikimedia
Giant isopod
Along with the giant squid and the Japanese spider crab, these squirm-inducing arthropods are a prime example of deep sea gigantism. If you’re not familiar with the giant isopod, look no further than the common wood louse, which is its terrestrial cousin. Both species have the ability to curl up into a ball to protect themselves from predators.
Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network.