For this weeks Sepia Saturday I am no where near the theme; though I will do my best to tie it all together.

It's not often you see cabinet cards showing a person displaying something to do with what they did for a living. Now I'm not saying this fellow was a pool shark, but I think we can agree he did like himself some pool playin'. Why else to pose with a cue? How common was it to make a living back then playing pool? And did he need the assistance of a train schedule to get out of town quickly? (Did you just miss that? Notice how I tied the theme in with this photo? Not worth mentioning? Okay, moving along....)

Click on image to see it larger.

Oh sure, he might have just loved the game. Perhaps he was a champion player with some recognition. Alas, there is nothing on this card giving any information. In fact, I can't even find anything about the photographer H. R. Robinson of Brockton, Massachusetts. H. R. must have been somebody because he/she makes a point of letting all know he/she/it was the "Successor to STIFF." That's gotta mean somethin' to someone!

Click on image to see it larger.

Okay, I might be showing my questionable intelligence. Perhaps this isn't a pool cue. Perhaps he played billiards or snooker or carried his own enormous toothpick. What do I know?

I look at this photo and think of the Hole in the Wall Gang of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid fame. I think it's the hat. That hat makes me think of Butch. And then I notice that the photographer's studio was in the Home Bank Building. Red flags go up. Is this pool shark casing the joint before pulling a heist? Has he just done the same stupid thing Butch and Sundance did? Have his picture taken?

Well buddy, the jig is up. We've got you now!

Then again, maybe he was just a really nice fellow who liked to play pool.

This photo was in the large box of photos my friend Bert gave me a few months ago. I will be having brunch with him and his daughter on Sunday.

And to actually see a fabulous train engine you can look at a post I did last fall of the Pennsylvania Railroad's PRR S1 at the 1939 World's Fair. It was actually my Sepia Saturday post on September 3rd. It's such a beautiful engine that it's worth looking at again. The best train shot in my collection.

QUESTION: What is that thing in the cover on the right on the floor? Is that a Roomba vacuum in it's own little tea cozy?


  1. Okay. I got lost there for twenty minutes... I don't have any idea how many photographers there were in Brockton back in the day, but today? 248

    As for pool cues, I think it's a walking stick, as I just got done researching pool balls (yes, I have a piece of letterhead asking for clarification of a replacement number 9 ball) and I looked at vintage tables, cues and balls. Perhaps it was a pool cue for his 'little' brother who would have had to stand on the side table to use it. Perhaps his little brother is hiding behind the table for that matter. Railroad timetable? You mean the ephemera laying on the table? LOL. You did get new glasses, right?
    Now. The LOCOmotive. What were they thinking? I know you know how much it cost to build that behemoth, but LORD. What a waste.
    I at first thought it was this locomotive: http://alphabetilately.com/TOPS/USA/UX311a.jpg The one I've linked is the 20th Century Limited, which was an actual working locomotive on the New York Central Railroad. From the photo you posted a close look reveals that they had it elevated about four feet off the ground, as you can see some of the wheel trucks, but none of the drivers.

    Okay. I'm done. Nice photograph. Worth every minute I spent on your story. ;o)

  2. The stick made me think of the kind blind people use.

    The train post you linked to was very interesting.

  3. Oh Dave, how right you are. That indeed must be the train schedule on the table. And what is that thing on the floor to the right? Dare I say it...Is that where he keeps his balls?

    That poor train engine. So beautiful and so useless. One of those times where form came before function at a huge waste of money. The 29th Century is beautiful.

  4. I must admit I thought he held a walking stick. Glad you included the link to the train.

  5. Such a great picture! (I visited earlier, but couldn't see your pics while on Firefox ... had to go thru IE to do that for some reason.)

    Thanks so much for stopping by to visit. It has been probably more than 10 years since I've been to the Scandi Festival, but my dad and step-mom go when they can. The peeps meet in the beer garden for an annual reunion each year.

    Take care,


  6. walking stick or pool cue (it does look short) I'm sure he is on the way out of the door to catch the next train going west.

  7. A very definition of "dapper" gentleman. Bowler hats sometimes had a special significance for occupation, perhaps a cane did too.

  8. you certainly presented this well. a quick getaway by rail?
    loved to see again that train that looked even more modern than the ones we have now. visionary!!!

  9. The detail on the walls is amazing. They just don't build like that anymore. And yes, we will call that a train schedule on the table! :)

  10. the Sole Survivor Of The Great Massachusetts Billiard Hall Massacre Of 1897?

  11. This is my ‘cue’ to say I followed your ‘train’ of thought!
    I think the gentleman was a snooker/billiards/pool player; that would be a very uncomfortabel walking stick to hold.

  12. Great picture. I think its a walking cane. The bowler hat and smart suit indicate he's got a fairly good job.

  13. I think it must be a pool cue, because it doesn't seem nearly long enough or ornate enough to be a walking stick.

  14. I don't know about the thing in the right corner but that is an interesting one-arm chair on the left. It is one of the few I have seen that is not ratan.

    Funny post!