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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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Capital Electric: 1920

Capital Electric: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "1525 14th Street, Capital Electric Co." Where the vacuums are. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

No, I don't want any antiques

I'm here for the reproducing.


Dirty snow -- having flashbacks to February!

Young Tree

The mottled bark and the hanging balls look like a Sycamore. (Platanus occidentalis)

I bet they wished they hadn't planted it.


It's a London Plane.


That looks more like a sycamore with seed pods.

A Tree Grows in Washington

As best I can tell it's a sweetgum and what look like berries are actually seed pods.

Ouch! Ouch!

I notice the metal flashing on the front ledges of the top two windows above the electrical contractor have big dents. Did someone ricochet off of those after falling off the roof, or did the building just have an overweight window washer?

Add-on bay

Note the bay above the storefront extension. With what was probably tin or copper trim, by the look of those dents.

It's a parking lot now

where 1525 once stood. The only building from this view remaining today is the one at 1527; minus its decorative front bay and iron balcony, it's a carryout today. The antiques in the window -- looking to be mostly andirons and fireplace tools -- still pop up at local estate sales. Due to many factors, they're slow sellers.

View Larger Map

Antique Antiques

While it would be interesting to walk into the Capital Electric store and see the state of the art for 1920, it could be even more interesting to visit the antique store to the left and see what was considered already antique as of 90 years ago.

Street tree botany

What are those berries on the tree?

Pedestrian Plaza

Should I be concerned that that building seems rather plain to me? I think these pictures are warping my view of architecture. Thing is, at the time, it probably was plain. They would have taken such architecture as "normal," to be taken for granted.


I would so like to go back 90 years and shop in an Antiques store circa 1920! Imagine the relative bargains as stuff from the 1860s would be on that cusp between "junque" and antique. Eighteenth century items would be valuable, but not out of reach.


Looking at the Antique store next to the Electric Co. store in this image, it occurs to me that everything for sale inside the state of the art (for the day) Electric Appliance store shown would fetch top dollar in an Antique Store today.


Imagine all the fantastic buys you might find in that antique shop. A treasure trove of goodies awaits. Maybe a genuine mahili stove or a bifos brooch.


I would love to be able to shop in that antique store!!!

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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