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Whorls and Ridges: 1926

Whorls and Ridges: 1926

June 1926. "Bureau of Identification, Department of Justice, Washington." Poring over fingerprints at the forerunner of the FBI. National Photo Co. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Tilting Window operation

Bohneyjames you are correct about its operation. When I was in grade school it was a badge of honor to be appointed a window operator. The honoree was given access to a wooden pole with a metal L-shaped hook on top. The grade school windows were about three times taller than these and those in my junior high were about four times taller but both were about the same width. The pole was raised to the top of the lower section where there was a lock with a circle on the top. The pole's hook was placed in the circle and pulled back to unlock it and then the pole was pulled back quickly at about a 45 degree angle to pull the lower section back and out. The upper section would at the same time be pulled up and outwards by the levers on the sides. Closing the window was accomplished by putting the hook in the lock's circle and pushing forward. In thinking back I'm surprised the hook never became dislodged and broke a window pane. The shades were attached at the top of each section and ropes passed through a pulley at the bottom to close them.

Tilting sash

The tilting sash are indeed fascinating. I've never seen them before either, and they are shown closed in the other Shorpy photo. It looks like you release the sash lock, grasp the sturdy handles on the sides of the lower sash, pull in, and then both sash tilt and move apart at the center via pivoting arms (shown on the left side of the window on the right). Also like the handy cord/pulley arrangement for operating the shades. Perhaps an expert on historic millwork could weigh in here? I'd love to see the patent drawings for those windows!

Windows and AC

I grew up in DC in the 50's and many elementary schools built in the 30's had this window design. I also worked at the Bureau in the 60's and the "Ident. Building" at 2nd and D SW was mostly non-AC. It was where the fingerprint cards and files were stored. There was a government rule in place then that dictated employees could leave for the day if certain temperature and humidity levels were attained in non-AC environments. I would think that these photos were taken in the Southern RR building that used to be HQ. It was located about where the IRS building is now in the Federal Triangle.

Pre DC AC again

Those giant windows (triple hung?) must have helped, and somewhere off-camera, I hope there is a mighty Emerson, oscillating. Still, you'd think they'd be allowed to take off those coats.
WOW to the curved detail and actual Shopy version!


I've never seen windows quite like that, at least not top and bottom swings outs. I agree with Maximus; I've lived in DC and it is a nightmare in the summer. I always try and imagine, while on Shorpy, living in the required fashions of the day before fans or air conditioners. DC buses got AC in the mid 60's. We used to ride them around sometimes just for relief.

Cultured G-Men

Now I'm reimagining all of the old film noir sets reworked so that the hard-bitten crime-fighters have vases of roses on their desks.

Discomfortus Maximus

One can only imagine how hot those wool suits were on a nice steamy DC day with no air conditioning.

Creepy photo on the desk!

Who can use their Photoshop skills and straighten out that photo on the desk? I tried it here and saw two people sitting at different desks with their heads down. Was it a generic photo thrown there or a crime scene photo?

[They're looking at this Shorpy photo. -tterrace]

OOPS! Must have missed that one! Thanks T!

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