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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Modern Nativity: 1953

Modern Nativity: 1953

December 1953. Continuing the Look magazine series "night photographs of houses decorated for Christmas." You know what they say about people who live in glass houses -- they don't throw Christmas parties. At least not until they can afford curtains. From photos by Jim Hansen and Bob Lerner. View full size.


Our second house, which was built in '58 had a huge window like this in the living room. Fortunately it faced south, but was still a cold air source. The rest of the house had aluminum frame crank out windows, single pane.
The furnace and A/C were original as was the water heater. We bought the place in the late '70s, so you can imagine the efficiency.
We finally replaced all the windows,added six inches to the insulation in the attic and put a new furnace, water heater and A/C in.
Energy costs must not have been an issue in'58 but what a difference all of that made.

And the stockings were hung

from the window with care! It is always interesting where people hang stockings when they don't have a mantel. We used the backs of chairs, if I remember rightly. The window would be handy, especially is Santa could open it.

Season's Greetings

I see the "war on Christmas" has been going on for at least 50 years now. My father was drafted in 1964 and injured in the Battle of Tinsel Hill, recovered, and then took part in the famous Christmas Tree Stand of 1965.

Jingle Bills

Just think of the heating bills. All that glass *shudder*!

All Through the House

The stockings were hung by the window with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas --

Hey! No chimney?

Heat loss

The R-value of glass is about 0.14, and there's 120 square feet of it right here. When it came to selling, picture windows were the '50s equivalent of today's granite countertops, but the thermostat is probably set on 82 just to make that room comfortable. Oh, and did anybody notice that all of the snow and ice are melted off that roof?

Be Still My Heart

Multiple colors, not just an alpha channel? What is the Shorpy brand coming to?

Unwinding my tongue from my cheek, I guess that it's time to wish everyone Seasons Greetings.


I want to say those three figures at the bottom of the window are the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and March Hare from Alice in Wonderland. And I really want to say they're the versions from the 1951 Disney film.

UPDATE: Well, they may be. This ad is for a set of toys issued upon the original release of the film. The size seems right. Also, surviving examples of the final products.

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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