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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Apex: 1934

Apex: 1934

Washington, D.C., circa 1934. "Washington Monument. Capstone without lightning rods." 8x10 nitrate negative by Theodor Horydczak. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

More precious than gold

I remember my grade-school history teacher telling us about the cap being aluminum and at that time it cost more than gold. That started me on an aluminum can saving kick that I still do some 40 years later.

(I have recycled most of the cans.)

Capped by capacious scaffolding

In answer to loujudson's question it was scaffolding:

Tip of the top!

Simultaneously amazing and crude... nowhere near as fine as many pyramicds and old cathedrals, yet an amazing engineering feat!

How did they place the capstone, and how did they take the photo? Was there a scaffolding, or a helicopter, or did they just levitate? :-)

Thanks for posting this

I've heard from so many sources that this capstone was an all seeing eye, Masonic or Illuminati. Now I can show the next person I hear say that, Nope here's a picture.


To read that from the ground wait until the lightning rods are installed. Then the capstone will be grounded.

The Tip

Interestingly, the tip is made of aluminum, and originally so. It was an exotic expensive substance back then!


It's not up to cathedral builders' standards. The fit isn't very good, and it's right out where a deity can see it, too.


Now how am I going to read that from the ground?

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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