This Laraway negative was badly under-exposed and the emulsion was damaged, but with a little care I was able to extract a great detail from the center of the field. You can see the looks on their faces, splatters of insecticide on their clothing, streams of insecticide covering the tank and wagon, and the spray leaving the nozzles to coat the fruit. I suspect these guys didn't have to worry about mosquito bites.
I wonder if they are using copper sulfate?
L.E. on 24th August 2021 @ 8:28am
an absolutely amazing picture from a lot of perspectives....#1 that you saved it Arthur, #2 how did they power the spray, compressed air?, #3 bet that was really "good" stuff being in those nozzles......Arlen
Arlen L Sheldrake on 24th August 2021 @ 8:28am
I am curious about that wagon - it looks like the wagon body is a half-barrel tank, probably holding water, which may have been mixed with the chemicals held in the riveted tank on top. Not sure what the motive force for mixing was, can't see anything from this view. These guys really should be wearing masks as a minimum. It's hard to believe they weren't concerned with breathing in spray even back in those days.
kmb on 24th August 2021 @ 8:51am
We know that A.I. Mason used lead arsenate at this stage to make sure he had no "wormy apples" sent to market. This is probably the same era.
Some of the other negatives in this collection show a small gasoline powered engine on the spray wagon. I don't think this is the same wagon, but I bet there was a gas engine on the rear of the wagon.
ArthurB on 24th August 2021 @ 9:07am
Thanks Arthur for making these photos 'seeable' again. It would be a perfect scientific study if you could get the name of a few of these people who sprayed and check their age at death as well as cause.
nels on 24th August 2021 @ 10:38am
US male life expectancy in 1905 was 47.3. I suspect many didn't live long enough for these chemical exposures to become the cause of death. In a sense we're "lucky" we get to deal with the effects of long term exposure to hazardous chemicals in the environment.
ArthurB on 24th August 2021 @ 1:08pm
Arthur, just wondering, how long did it take you to correct that film?
nels on 24th August 2021 @ 7:12pm
"US male life expectancy in 1905 was 47.3." -- I suspect this is life expectancy at birth, which would reflect infant mortality, childhood deaths, young-male-risk-taking. I would guess the ages of these gentlemen as thirties to early forties. Life expectancy for a 40 year old was dramatically different than at-birth. That 47.5 was "average." You'd need a bunch of people living quite a bit longer than that to make the average 47.5. The biblical threescore and ten would seem to still be a reasonable expectation, with four score and ten not out of the question. That said, both of my grandfathers died in their early sixties, and they were both about 18 at the time of this picture.
Alan Winston on 25th August 2021 @ 11:14am
Here is a wealth of data on life expectancy by age, race, city, place of birth for this era: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/lifetables/life1890-1910.pdf.
ArthurB on 25th August 2021 @ 2:33pm