Guatemala: E. Herbruger.
Very good. Albumen photo, 4 7/8" x 7 3/4" on a 5 1/4" x 8 1/2" mount (boudoir card), stamped on the back "Fotografia Central, de E. Herbruger, Guatemala." Emil (also called Emilio) Herbruger was one of the earliers photographers to work in Guatemala. Born Germany in 1820, he moved to the United States in 1841, and by 1843 he had been awarded a prize for his daguerreotypes. A few years later, he began traveling and working in Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. He is known to have worked Guatemala as early as 1846, but did not make the country his home base until the late 1860s. According to Peter Palmquist's Pioneer Photographers of the Far West, an 1868 newspaper described Harburger as "a pioneer of Guatemalan photography" and praised his "fine panoramic photos." This rare image shows a locomotive with the words "Central de Guatemala" on the side standing in front of a roundhouse. The Guatemala Central Railroad Company, backed by financing and engineering assistance from United States businessmen, began constructing the country's first railroad in 1879. "Experienced Central Pacific engineers supervised construction, locomotives came from Baldwin, and cars were built by Kimball Manufacturing Company in San Francisco and Central Pacific's shops in Sacramento. The line from San Jose reached Escuintla in 1880 and Guatemala City in 1884. In 1888 an advertisement in the U.S. described the Guatemala Central as the 'best appointed railway' in Central America, with 'fine rock and gravel ballast, 50 lb. steel rails, and all rolling stock supplied with Westinghouse automatic air brakes'" (John B. West, "A Short History of the IRCA"). We have not been able to locate any other examples of this fine image.