Single photo: Early 1860s. Treasury Department in Lincoln's time. Washington, D.C.

KorbenDallas

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I think this image has been doctored. Specifically, whoever's been sitting in those two chairs by the bar stand appear to have been erased. I have hard time imagining occupants of those chairs to be dancing around to the point where every single part of their body would disappear. But hey, stranger things have happened.

I would love to know what these things are.

Treasury Department in Lincoln's time_1.jpg

What do you think powered those huge Chandeliers?

Washington, D.C., early 1860s. "Treasury Department in Lincoln's time (Cash Room behind the desks)."
At least two spectral presences here. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress.
Treasury Department in Lincoln's time.jpg
 

RowOfEleven

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"The first direct current electricity brought into [the treasury department building] by the U.S. Electric Company for the Engraving & Printing operations in the basement in 1885, which would be expanded throughout the building over a 10 year period." Official source pdf bottom of pg 14

I suppose they could be gas powered. That was very popular in Europe and America at this time.

"The characteristics to look for in an authentic-looking chandelier for the Gaslight era include a fixture with a downrod or some visible means of supplying the gas to the burners. Gas "keys," the small handles used to open and close the gas cock, or valve, for each burner, add authenticity. The shades should be bowls or cones that face straight up so that the heat and fumes aren't trapped inside. As this implies, chandeliers that held 'candles' can hang from a chain, and probably should. A chandelier with candle-shaped fittings that burned gas would have to have had a gas supply pipe, so it should be hung by a downrod." source

I see downrods and keys. Both suggest gas-lit. I was almost caught up by the glass orbs, "The shades should be bowls or cones that face straight up so that the heat and fumes aren't trapped inside." If you look closely, they aren't spheres. There is a flat top to every one of them, which seems like it would be the opening at the top. It seems to have these three indicators of authenticity, so it falls perfectly into the description of a gas-lit chandelier.

Gas_Lamps.jpg
 
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sharonr

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Yes, they are supposed to be gas lamps, but I am questioning that technology now. These buildings still exist, so I assume they had all that gas piping taken away or blocked before electricity was brought in. It would be dangerous to have any gas piping still leading up to any fixture. Being that these are marble construction, makes you wonder how they were retrofitted with electricity, except you absolutely do see metal conduits on the outside of the interior surfaces leading to fixtures holding electrical wires all the way to the new fixture. But stopping the gas flow is another issue. Something to think about at least.

What a dirty floor. You would think they would clean up before a photo. I'm not sure what the laptop on the counter is.
 

Verity

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I'd suggest the spectres are due to long exposure time. In broad daylight it's no issue, but indoors the eye adjusts, and the lens must too by opening wider with a longer exposure time to clock the details. Even digital cameras with budget lenses get this effect in substandard light if not fill-flashed.
To expose for the indoors you risk blowing out the detail in the background.


The lapdesks?

Lapdesk2.jpgLapdesk.jpgLapdesk3.jpglapdesk4.jpg

I agree that the floors are really dirty. It seems almost abandoned- too scruffy for a decent place of business.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Yes, they are supposed to be gas lamps, but I am questioning that technology now. These buildings still exist, so I assume they had all that gas piping taken away or blocked before electricity was brought in. It would be dangerous to have any gas piping still leading up to any fixture. Being that these are marble construction, makes you wonder how they were retrofitted with electricity, except you absolutely do see metal conduits on the outside of the interior surfaces leading to fixtures holding electrical wires all the way to the new fixture. But stopping the gas flow is another issue. Something to think about at least.

What a dirty floor. You would think they would clean up before a photo. I'm not sure what the laptop on the counter is.
I have seen where they run the wires right through the old gas pipes. Just change the burner out with a lamp socket after disconnecting the gas.

Didn't notice any exposed conduit, but there are a lot of options for things like that anyways.
 

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