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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Parlor Portrait: 1914

Parlor Portrait: 1914

San Francisco, 1914. My mother's family and their chandelier posed for a portrait shot on a 5x7 glass plate in their home at 1834 15th St. On the floor, my mother and her twin brother Albert. Seated, John and Marie. Standing to either side, Francis and Mary. View full size.

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Gas/Electric fixtures

The gas pillars wouldn't have had glass shades -- they were meant to resemble candles, including an open flame. The Mission/Craftsman style of the fixture shows that it was probably not even 10 years old in 1916 (the house doesn't look much older, for that matter).

My house didn't get electricity until 1926, and it's right in the middle of the city. Electricity, even in the so-called "City of Light" that Buffalo claimed to be, was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it until the late 1920s. Buffalo rates in 1910 translate to $2.40 per meter click, compared to my current (high) rate of around 22 cents!

Gas/Electric Chandelier

My sister has pointed out that our grandparents' chandelier is a combination gas/electric model. Fixtures of this kind were common in the later 1800s when newfangled electrical supply was not as reliable as tried-and-true gas. On this one, the upward-pointing things that look like stubby candles are the gas fixtures, and the fact that they no longer have glass shades is an indication that they'd been long unused at this point. Click here to enlarge.

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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