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Industrial photo archive for sale at Swann Auction Galleries brings Britain's 1920's factories to life
A vast industrial archive of machinery featuring components made by the Renold and Coventry Chain Company, approximately 562 individually mounted silver prints, 1920s-40s. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000. Image courtesy Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Auction Galleries will open a fascinating window on early 20th century British history when it offers a vast industrial archive of more than 560 individually mounted photographs for sale on February 21.

Detailing machinery featuring components made by the Renold and Coventry Chain Company, some of the images also capture people and their working conditions in places like Manchester in the 1920s. The archive photographs feature similar scenes in Australia.

The archive, which spans the 1920s to 1940s, covers subjects ranging from an Austin Motorcars production line conveyor and a mechanical tote conveyor for unloading bananas at East India Dock to a continuous rotating table for biscuit packing and a hand-powered rhubarb cutter.

Each comes with typed company information, dates, and various specifications, many with lengthier typed captions, and an Austral Elevator Co. hand stamp on the mount.

“This is a remarkable source of social and industrial history, and the annotated mounts give these images all the more impact,” said Swann Photographs Director, Daile Kaplan.

The estimate is $2,000 to $3,000.

• The auction also includes a number of other highlights, including an archive of 350 NASA photographs chronicling the Space missions and lunar explorations over of four decades; a group of 9 rare postcards associated with the Société Anonyme by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Kurt Schwitters and Marcel Duchamp (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000); and a mini-archive of 6 printed postcards by the pioneering Italian Futurist photographer Anton Giulio Bragaglia of his iconic photographs from 1911-13 (estimate: $30,000 to $45,000).

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