The White House Illuminated!

The White House Illuminated!

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson / obamawhitehouse.archives.gov

Built to be illuminated in the manner typical to the entire world at the start of the 19th century, the White House (the President’s house) in 1800 acquired natural light coming in through its windows that extended 14 ft high and also 5 ft across. The very first occupants of the White House dragged dining tables and chairs near to the windows so that they can write and read, sew or shine silver at day time. At night, candles and lamps illuminate the entire house.

After the use of lard oil, candles, and oil lamps and before the use of industrial pendant lights, electricity was introduced to the White House in the year 1891, at the time of Benjamin Harrison. It was part of a project to wire the entire State buildings including War and Navy buildings too. Today, this building is known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The electrical works were installed by the Edison company.

The fairly new way of illumination was supposed to be just a back up to the gaslight, but eventually all the rooms in the White house were lit by electricity. The whole electrical wiring structure was changed at the time of the main repair of the White House in the year 1902. At that time, only the service areas maintained the gaslight fixtures which were only utilized in times of power failure.

The White House Lighting Since 1902

The White House had gone through many upgrades since the year 1902. In 1979, solar panels were installed on the West Wing roof in order to heat the supply of water for the staff of the White House. In 1986, the panels were taken out in the course of roof maintenance. Solar power panels made a return in 2014 and were included in the main roof to produce a renewable energy supply.

The goal of preserving the legacy of the White House had been funded with intentions to conserve the history of the White House includes these light fixtures which help in the historic legacy of the executive mansion’s lighting.

See more about White House lighting in the history of the United States.

The History of White House Menorah and The Presidents who Honored the Lighting