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Jump Back in Time Gilded Age (1878-1889)
Theodor Horydczak on top of the Washington Monument
The photographer Theodor Horydczak admires the jewel-like pyramid of aluminum on top of the Washington Monument

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The Washington Monument Was Completed
December 6, 1884

That 9-inch aluminum pyramid, which completes the top of the structure as it narrows to a point, is 100-ounces of solid aluminum, part of the monument's lightning protection system. In the 1880s, aluminum was a rare metal, selling for $1.10 per ounce and used primarily for jewelry. The pyramid was the largest piece of aluminum of its day and was such a novelty that it was displayed at Tiffany's jewelry store in New York before it was placed at the top. Last, if you go to visit the Washington Monument, you will have a spectacular panoramic view from the observation deck because, by government mandate, it will always be the tallest structure in Washington. Now that's some monumental trivia!
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