a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1945 - lighting make it ultra modern -- a paradoxical contradiction which, to be appreciated, must be seen


CD 1966031 E&MP27.120

Electric Lighting


The Public Hall, 18 feet by 38 feet, will hold the visitors' interest for several reasons: Its architecture is suggestive of the Old English, yet its appointments and lighting make it ultra modern -- a paradoxical contradiction which, to be appreciated, must be seen.

Here the lighting effects are just the reverse of what they were in the Reception Room: As the visitors enter a rich warm flood of amber light, coming from concealed sources in the ceiling, bathes the entire interior in soft color. This amber light slowly fades out to give way to a deep green that brings out the shadows in sharper contrast. This, in turn, is displaced by a pale blue that gradually becomes deeper until the room appears to be flooded with moonlight. This fades and a single, white beam of light points to a bust that sets in solitary grandeur in a niche in the wall, of the man whose development of alternating current and its contribution to the world made possible the electrical industry of today, George Westinghouse.

The visitors watch this until the light again changes to its original amber color and discloses all that the room holds.

As they look around, their eyes will be attracted to a beautiful glass model of America's original Liberty Bell that stands on a marble base and shows in exact detail the raised letters, the famous crack and the different indentations that mark its internationally known original.

This beautiful glass model is a replica of the gigantic luminous Liberty Bell designed by the Westinghouse Lamp Company to celebrate the Sesquicentennial, a picture of which the U.S. Government adopted for its design of the exposition postage stamp.


Original Caption by Science Service

National Museum of American History


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