#TBT Mummers: 10 photos of robots, feathers, firemen and more historic New Year’s craziness

Mummers firemen 1976

We hope you’re enjoying the Mummers Parade today. As you may know, this Philadelphia tradition dates back to the 17th century. That’s a lot of parades and a lot of drunken revelry. Because it’s Thursday and because Mummers are insanely photogenic, Billy Penn presents a very specialof #TBT: The Mummers Edition. All photos are from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, via Temple University Libraries.

1890s: A portrayal of the typical clown suit worn by Mummers in the late 19th century.

Mummer 1890s

January 1, 1925: Mummers carry three large quilts down Broad Street.

Mummer quilts 1925

January, 3, 1933: Mummer Sam Molano stands on some real tall stilts.

Mummers stilts 1937

1936: George German plays the “Mechanical Man” for the Lobster Club. He was supposed to be demonstrating the mechanical man of the future (we’re still waiting, though!).

Mummers mechanical 1936

December 19, 1937: Mummers prepare costumes that not surprisingly include a significant amount of feathers.

Mummers feathers 1937


January 1, 1943: James Durning is named champion leader for the String Band division. He has symbols for the Air Force on his costume.

Mummer 1943


January 1, 1944: The crowd needs to stand atop baskets to catch that sweet Mummer strutting.

Mummers baskets 194

January 9, 1964: Mummers don’t actually retire. They just move to Palm Beach, Fla., and do what they do best in a warmer location.

Mummers florida 1964

July 6, 1973: Northeast Strutters dress up like firemen.

Mummers firemen 1976

November 1, 1977: You can’t strut all the time. Mummer takes the escalator at The Gallery.

Mummer escalator 1977

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