SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Statue of Electricity: 1912

Statue of Electricity: 1912

        The six Saint-Gaudens statues, each weighing 22 tons, which are to grace the facade of the Union Station, are now being placed on pedestals at the tops of the entrance columns. Each of the statues was loaded upon a flat car for shipment to this city, and 20 horses drew the dray which hauled the first one to the station from the railway yards.    -- Washington Post, Oct. 27, 1912

The Greek philosopher Thales, representing electricity, one of Louis St. Gaudens' six statues symbolizing "The Progress of Railroading" at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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The sign says "Barre, VT" which is the home of the Rock of Ages Granite quarry, the largest in the US.


Thales conveys the importance and power of electricity better than Reddy Kilowatt, who lacks the necessary gravitas.

It went up from there

Thales was evidently directly in front of the column he now stands atop.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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