Women At Work


Stereo photograph, gelatin silver print, published by Kilburn Brothers, Littleton, N.H., ca. 1885. View of the Pentagraph Room, American Print Works; collection of E. Lee Eltzroth

For Labor Day, here is an image from my collection. This woman is at work on a pentagraph, or pantograph, machine at the American Print Works, in Fall River, Massachusetts.

These machines were often used to make a copy, proportionally enlarging or reducing a photograph or a sketch, usually to be turned into a lithograph. Many women were employed this way in the northern states.

According to Wikipedia this machine “is a mechanical linkage connected in a manner based on parallelograms so that the movement of one pen, in tracing an image, produces identical movements in a second pen.”

This particular company’s primary business was textiles, so their pantograph machines were very likely used to design prints for fabrics.

My next two posts will be devoted to Georgia women in Photography — two amateurs and one professional.  The first will appear later this month and the second in should be ready for you in October. Meanwhile enjoy the return of cooler weather and get out and enjoy your hunting and gathering!

Text and photo © E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



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