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The J.G. Brill Company and its various incarnations dominated the world of trolley and undercarriage manufacturing for most of its seventy-year history. Based in Philadelphia, Brill was founded in 1868 by a German immigrant and held in family hands well into the 1930s. At its height, The J.G. Brill Company owned plants in six states as well as in Canada and France. The collection consists of approximately 16,000 photographs, 6,000 glass-plate negatives, 10,000 acetate negatives, and thirteen order books, and documents the wide array of products manufactured by Brill. The photographs include interior and exterior views of railroad cars, trolleys, buses, ambulances, and trucks, as well as images of undercarriages, small parts, and seats. The collection also documents the factory grounds at 62nd and Woodland, particularly for World War I. Order books provide information on the quantity and types of items purchased, the companies purchasing them, and their dates of order and delivery.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) holds over two dozen different collections of lantern slides. These small, glass-mounted transparencies, which rose to fame during the late 19th century and were produced into the early 20th century, feature images ranging from local landscapes, residences, and landmarks, to portraits and prints. Some of the slides form travelogues, while others were created to capture a school in action or the visual history of an area. This database represents a portion of the slides that can be viewed at HSP, and all of our lantern slide collections can be found in our online catalog, discover.hsp.org.
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