I don't know the story of this photo, but day-um those are some large wheels! Bikes at the time were fixed-gear or direct-drive, meaning that there was no need to fit rim or disc brakes - to stop, you just pushed backwards on the crank. It's different than a coaster brake, though, because fixed-gear cranks are still going to be trying to turn as long as the rear wheel is moving. I have a fixed gear that I ride in the early season - you can't coast because of the direct-drive, so riding it is a fantastic way to work on your cadence and pedaling motion.
According to my photo hosting service, this was my 150th picture.