I'm guessing, but these two images have to be from around 1920. It's Rogat Hardware in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Here's the backstory.
Back before the big chains like Home Depot, Lowes and Ace most small towns had a hardware store. My grandfather opened Rogat Hardware and in going through boxes of photographs from my Dad's home, I found these two gems.
Now, here's the fun I'm having with these images.
To start, I loved my grandparents, and although they didn't come into my life until almost thirty years after these pictures were taken, they're all part of my roots. I used to help out in the store, especially during holiday breaks and the summer.
Next, check out the first cases you saw when you came into the store. Rifles and pistols on the left and knives directly in the front showcase. You'll never find that in any hardware store today! Even a bigger change, at twelve I was selling ammo to anybody who wanted it. Because it was too easy to shoplift, the ammunition was kept in the back of the store behind the register.
My grandfather believed in helping every customer who came into the store. He wasn't into self-service, and he trained me always to ask, "Can I help you find something?" Then, all of those showcases down the left side of the store opened up and behind them were items related to what was on display.
And the "BBB" on the front showcases was not the Better Business Bureau, but Bingham's Best Brand, a manufacturing company in Cleveland. A little digging on Google and I found information on BBB, one of the leading cutlery manufacturers in the area at the time. The ad on the right came out of The American Cutler.
The top image is a full print from an 8x10 negative and was printed on heavy stock paper. I'm sure it was a contact print. The second image with both my grandparents in it was take later because it's on thinner more contemporary paper and a 5x7. Also, the flowers from the grand-opening are gone.
Last on the list of fun with this, you really can find anything on Google. I typed in, "When did Rogat Hardware open?" and immediately was taken to The American Artisan and Hardware Record, Volume 82. There it was, an announcement of my grandfather buying out his partner in what was then called Fairport Hardware.
Well, I write/suggest the same thing every Throwback Thursday. Have some fun on your own and do a little exploring. Yes, I know this is the busiest time of year for every photographer, but it's also a time when you need to take a break. Looking through old photographs is therapeutic. They bring back so many memories, but, even more important they remind you of the responsibility you have to your clients. They're putting an incredible amount of trust in you, and you need to NEVER compromise on the quality of the images you deliver!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.