Re: When was this picture taken? #germany #photographs

Mashiach L. Bjorklund

Those are gas lamps, not electric. They are all upward facing and vented at the top. I count 6 lamps, including the open flame over the left gentleman's shoulder. It was rare that houses with electricity had more than one or two lights in a room before the turn of the century. There were no public electric utility companies in Germany before the turn of the century, so installing electricity and fixtures was extremely expensive. Now lets talk fashion. The men; 1840 to 1910. No help there. The woman; the three woman seated are wearing Victorian style. The woman standing and the one seated on the right are wearing Edwardian fashion. They also appear to be younger than the three seated. That fashion transition took place in the late 1890's. Now to the lighting; The very harsh lighting was produced by a flash pan. More specifically, a flash pan using a mixture of magnesium powder and potassium chlorinate which was first introduced by its German inventors Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke in 1887, but was not widely used until the late 1890's. Wallpaper and furniture styles are not specific enough. The furniture could range over 50 or more year period. The wall paper, because of staining from smoking and gas lamps, was typically replaced about every 10 years or so in homes of the economic stature this home appears to represent. To me it screams 1890's. So my best guess is this photo is no earlier than 1898 and no later than 1905. Were there any studio markings on the back of the photo? If so, most studios were named after their photographer. Their name can be researched via genealogical methods as well. Maybe some clues can be found there as well.

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