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Gas Class: 1927

Washington, D.C., circa 1927. "Cooking demonstration, Washington Gas Light Co." Where no cake is ever half-baked. Or else. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1927. "Cooking demonstration, Washington Gas Light Co." Where no cake is ever half-baked. Or else. View full size.


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Washington Gas Light Company

Thank you stanton_square, for providing yet another rabbit hole to follow. The Washington Gas Light Company, 419 Tenth Street N.W.—Main 8280 is a parking garage at the moment, not surprising. The company does provide a good history of their progress from 1848 to present day in section on their web page.

Muddy shoes

All the shoes on the women in the front row have mud on them. Maybe that's the reason for their unhappy look. They must have had to walk through a muddy parking lot in there fancy dress shoes.

[You think they drove there? - tterrace]

Women's Hats and Coats

Several questions have been asked about why the women here are still wearing their hats and coats. Here's my theory:

The demonstration is being held at the gas company's office, in a room which may not have provided a coat rack. The women are generally wearing longer winter coats, and if they hung them over the chairs, the coat tails would get dirty.

Women's hat etiquette at the time stated that it was not required for a lady to remove her hat indoors, as it was for men.

Even today, women are typically permitted to wear hats that are part of the outfit indoors. Emily Post advised that a hat should NOT be worn with an evening dress (more of a style point than an etiquette point). The style mavens of the 1950s and 1960s advise that daytime hats with large brims not be worn inside in the evening. Smaller brim hats should be worn if any hat is worn. Some would say that any dress hat can be worn indoors without exception. After dinner is the appropriate time to remove your hat if so inclined. A woman would not normally wear her hat in her own home even in the old days.

Wearing hats at an upscale restaurant is acceptable especially for fancy luncheons and High Teas. Indeed many ladies get together for High Teas where hat wearing is mandatory and is a fun event. Some advise that the hat should be part of your street clothes – a nice dress for example.

Cooking expressions

They're not looking "surly" (well, except for Mrs. Shelton, but more on her later), but instead rather neutral. People didn't automatically grin like morons when getting their picture taken in those days. Also, proceedings have ground to a halt as the photographer and assistant go through the rigamarole of making a flash-powder exposure with a large, tripod-mounted view camera. I think this helps explain Mrs. Shelton's expression; seeing it on my mother, I'd call that her "you and your darned foolishness" look.

Happiness Cooking

Washington Post, February 27, 1927.

Come to Our Demonstration
of “Happiness Cooking”

Daily This Week—9:30 to 4:30.

Come to see the magic of new cooking methods; short cuts in meal planning time savers in meal getting—as demonstrated by Mrs. Lois Shelton, Directory of Home Service of the Standard Gas Equipment Corporation. Daily from now until March 12. Don't miss the opportunity

Special Terms on Ranges During the Demonstration.

Washington Gas Light Company
419 Tenth Street N.W.—Main 8280

Bring Your Son to Cooking Class

After looking through the sea of surly-looking faces, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the little boy near the back (the only one sans hat) is probably the one who does NOT want to be there the most!

It's your duty, ladies

This was definitely from the era when cooking wasn't necessarily something you did for enjoyment. It was definitely a required task for most married women and a rather laborious one at that, considering that they had to prepare a big meal for their husbands every night without all the modern conveniences we have today. With that and the apparently cold room, no wonder they weren't smiling!

Family event?

The two ladies on the left of the front row and the two on the right look like mothers and daughters. Not sure about the centre lady. The older front row ladies seem to be thinking 'I've made better cakes than that for forty years!'

Poor Kid

Looks like the little guy peeping up from the back had to tag along with Mom. It must have seemed like an eternity in there waiting for a taste of the finished product. Hope he got some!

Gee she looks familiar

Now I know where I've seen that lovely lady at left. The matron from hell in a B-level women's prison movie. Yeowl!

Coats and hats

PokerChip sez: "Apparently, they aren't wasting any of that gas to heat the room. All the ladies sitting in their coats and hats." My mother would have been a bit younger than the women here, but she would never think of attending such an event, or going anywhere else in a large city, without a coat and hat.

Lady in stripes

Has made quite the muddy mess with her shoes. No one looks overly happy to be there.

Anything to spin the meter

Most gas and electric utilities had programs to promote increased use of their product. Many also sold appliances right from their offices. It was a good thing to get folks to spin their meters. Now days the utilities preach energy savings so they don't have to invest in expensive infrastructure upgrades because they have not kept up with demand. It also looks little Johnny, out from school early and stuck with Mom is about to bolt out the back door.

No questions!

The teacher scares me. She could be in the next Stephen King movie. Great photo filled with incredible details.

Cooking With Gas

The gas stove is a Tappan, which were manufactured for many years in my hometown of Mansfield, Ohio.

"Just wait til you taste this, You all!"

I guess this is the forerunner of Paula Dean. (or Paula's more serious Aunt) I am a newcomer to these photographs so I am curious about many things. Does anyone know why these ladies would be wearing coats for a cooking class? I am sure it is warm in the room with the ovens. Great picture! I love it!

Washington Gas Light Co. indeed!

Apparently, they aren't wasting any of that gas to heat the room. All the ladies sitting in their coats and hats.

2nd row 2nd from right

She's daydreaming, thinking "I'm pretty, I don't have to learn to cook."

Based on the coats

perhaps the Washington Gas Light Co. needs to divert some of the gas into the heating system.

Whoa momma!

This lady does not look like she will take any sass from her students while in the kitchen.

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