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Pic of the Week: Time Traveler Captured on Film?

This week's pic has been getting a lot of buzz around the Net. It's a seemingly innocuous photo taken at the re-opening of a bridge in 1940. The only reason it's gotten any attention is because of the guy on the middle right, wearing sunglasses. Once you notice him, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Some people have claimed that his outfit didn't exist in the 1940's - a logo shirt, portable camera, and sunglasses? He must be a time traveler!

Well, as cool an idea as that is, it's not quite accurate. forgetomori.com has a good breakdown of why the outfit Hipster Time Guy is wearing could certainly exist in 1940. Let's review the highlights:
  • First and foremost, we have to remember that this is 1940, not the 1800's. Portable cameras, sunglasses, and shirts with logos on them did exist.
  • The "sunglasses" are not actually sunglasses at all. Note the way they wrap around the head. That's because they were needed for protection. The "sunglasses" look like safety glasses used in welding. Very common at the time, especially for an area under construction.
  • The "logo T-shirt" is not actually a T-shirt at all, but most likely a sweater with the logo for the Montreal Maroons, a hockey team that folded in 1938. That's just two years before this picture was taken, so it's reasonable that someone might be wearing it in 1940.
  • The portable camera that couldn't possibly have existed in 1940? It resembles a Kodak Brownie camera, first released in 1900. To the right, we have a pic of the model used in 1940. Look familiar?
  • Even with all this, there's still the possibility that the photo is doctored. But image analysis seems to dispute this.

What do you think? Is this a real time traveler or is it another Net meme?


  1. I've seen this pic in many newspapers this week. Well, if he really was a time traveler, why would he pose in the photograph? He would run away if he saw somebody was taking a picture, especially since from the angle of the camera you can see the photographer wasn't hidden.

  2. There have been a lot of arguments along that vein, Desmond. For example, why would a time traveler show up at a seemingly unimportant bridge opening in 1940? Why would he choose to wear such a bizarre outfit that would make him stand out? And if he really was wearing such an unusual outfit for the time, why isn't anyone staring at him?

  3. I think what makes it most compelling is that he looks like Arnie from the Terminator. You gotta figure he got lost at least once.

  4. Good point Desmond. Unless he's a really dumb time traveller. Maybe he got stuck in the ship like the "Far Out Space Nuts."

  5. Many have made that argument, but the original photo is from a website that is simply an online photo museum for a Canadian town. It's hard to believe someone would have created this fake photo, then buried it in this inexplicable location where it might not have even been noticed.

  6. look at the right arm holding the camera, and the top of the head, and the left hand...

  7. Um...people, it seems I am the only one left on the planet with an actual pair of the original sunglasses seen here. They are made of celluloid and marked Made in Canda.The sides and lenses are flat; not wrap-around. The sides are clear dark celluloid; not leather as many have suggested.  I think they were intended for use as snow glasses rather than hipster wear. The truly amazing thing about about this this whole fuss is just how easily people (children?) are ready to believe whatever excites their imagination,but much less anything inconvenient.

  8. At first glance, he sure sticks out. But the explanation is logical. Very cool photo!


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