lost and found

Breathing new life into lost photographs

The Combusto

This photograph, found on a well known auction website measures 7 x 5″. Franey Shore is shown on the left hand shop window, I thought this might be the proprietor’s name initially. I haven’t been able to find a place name match but there is a Franey Trailhead in Nova Scotia (although it’s unlikely the shop was in a remote walking location!). Once I had scanned in the photograph I spotted the photographer in the window refection (bottom right). If you are wondering what a clinker is, it’s a waste product from coal! I have deciphered the feint pencil on the reverse, it reads…’The first home of the Combusto, Tomkinsville, Staten Island (a name which I can’t decipher) inventor.’ Then printed it says Franey Shore & Co, which is the name on the shop window.


I contacted Local History and Genealogy at The New York Public Library (NYPL) after posting this photograph. They couldn’t find any record of the Combusto in Staten Island but they found several adverts from 1914 newspapers featuring the company with a New York address. They also provided a link to old New York photos by address which are fascinating and extremely useful for research.

The Bike Race

Black and white photograph showing a cyclist going up a hill and another coming down, people are watching them cycle up/down a path.

I found this small photograph (4.25 x 3.25″) on ebay and thought I would post it as the 2022 Tour-de-France enters it’s final days. This race looks organised, but not in the same league as the tour. Several cyclists are racing and there is even someone checking their camera bottom left. No information on the other side of the photograph.

Haystack Portrait

Small photograph showing two smartly dressed gentlemen standing in top/bowler hats and holding clay pipes. There are two ladies sitting in front of them, also wearing hats and in elegant gowns. They are all stood in front of a haystacks or possibly a barn.

I can’t remember where I found this small photograph (4 x 2.75 “) and sadly there is no information on the reverse. I thought the photo had been taken against a haystack but there seems to be a roof, so perhaps a hay store or barn. The subjects are all smartly dressed and look very serious! I thought the gentlemen were holding canes until I scanned the image into the computer, they are holding clay pipes. From the pipes and the clothes the image probably dates from the early 19th century.

Smiling ladies at work

This 5×4″ photograph was found on ebay, no information on the reverse. Think it might be from the 1940s or 50s judging by the clothes. Almost all of the ladies are smiling and looking at the camera, even the lady in the far distance. I like the line of light reflected on the floor, the out of focus lady in the foreground and the solitary man in the distance.

A.Lami Etienne Restaurant

I won this postcard on a well know auction site. Some of the subjects are eating, wearing napkins and/or holding items. I love the worn out building, the clothes the subjects are wearing and that their pose isn’t too formal. Although there is no information on the reverse, the photo itself provides information on the business name and that the building is a corner plot. I discovered a business with a similar name and shape (Cafe Etienne) in Paris. Although the physical structure of the building must have had a facelift it could be the same location. What do you think?

General Store Window

I bought this photograph from an antiques centre in Whitchurch, Shropshire. It measures 5 x 3.5 ” and is printed on Kodak paper but doesn’t have any information on the reverse relating to the subjects. As you can see the shadows in the image are very dark (I try not to adjust the images I find too much). I did try to read the sign above the door by changing the contrast in Photoshop but could only read the second of two words which was ‘Right’. The photograph itself contains a lot of information, the prices are before decimalisation (1971), the sign written window tells you that they have bananas (which can also be seen in the doorway), pineapple, a range of potatoes, grapes, eggs, oranges, fish and lettuce.

Xmas with greetings from all at Craiggowan 1901

Photograph from 1901 showing a decorated christmas tree with head photo portraits of various people hung on the tree.

I found this carte-de-visite many years ago (I can’t remember where!) and kept it for a Christmas post or as this card says Xmas. I think the X has been clipped when they produced the card but it can be just seen on the edge of the original.

I searched for Craiggowan and found various results but the only one that made any sense was the Queen’s estate in Balmoral and the Craig Gowan lodge used by visitors to her Royal Highness. Perhaps they were guest or even staff?

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you : )

Dear Mrs Fisher

I bought this postcard in a charity shop in Cheltenham a few months ago. It doesn’t have a postmark so must have been sent in an envelope. It reads ‘Dear Mrs Fisher, It was very kind of you to remember us this Christmas. This is a photo of the Morris dancers on club day. It is not very distinct because they were moving. I have put a mark under Alice for fear you can’t find her. Wishing you a very happy & prosperous new year with Love from Nellie‘ The movement in the photograph was what drew me to it, almost everyone in the image is out of focus!

J.Kornweiss New York

I bought this photograph yesterday. I decided to take a different way home from work and spotted a book sale at a shop which was closing down. This cabinet card was lodged within a pile of modern postcards. No information on the reverse but the photographers name and address is shown below the photograph: J.Kornweiss, 151 Rivington St, New York. As you can see 151 Rivington Street is now a sake bar. I also found another blog called forgotten New York with information relating to the history of Rivington Street, many Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe lived in this part of the city. J.Kornweiss had a studio at 155 Rivington Road at some time (perhaps moving for larger premises?) because the National Museum of the American Jewish History holds several portraits.

Taken on the Telde

This postcard was found on a well known auction site and reads ‘Taken on the Telde on the way to Morocco. Observe her smile!!’ written vertically alongside the image. The postcard is only blue on the side of the image, I’m unsure if this was intentional or if the colour has transferred from another surface. The postmark is Bangor 8.15 pm July 15th 1901 and the address is Mrs Hunt, Ross Bank, Bare, Morecombe.