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a Borrowed Observation of ‘Change, Obsolescence, and Beauty’

3 December, 2010

Dearest Readers,

The Author hopes it will not be frowned upon to borrow an observation.  Her favorite Architect, her father, encountered a curious site just a few blocks from his office in Philadelphia.  This trick of light delighted the Author, and she enjoyed her father’s explanation even more.  Thinking all Diligent Observers would appreciate this gem, the Author will take the liberty of handing her forum over–but she will not be making a habit of it!


Mr. JCG tells the tale in his own words:

‘It is a sad but interesting story about change, obsolescence, and beauty.  The store, Philadelphia Blue Print, was a store that specialized in architectural and engineering drafting specialties.  They made blueprints (reproductions of architectural drawings made by exposing a chemical coated paper to ammonia fumes in a machine.  The fumes would burn off the chemical coating, leaving the paper blue everywhere but where the lines that the architect had drawn.  The lines were white.)  These were the blueprints that people still refer to, although the true blueprints were replaced in the fifties by diazo prints, (where the paper was white and the lines blue) then by computer plotting and black line printing and scanning in the nineties.  The store also sold drafting equipment, which is also no longer used as everything is drawn on a computer.  So the store closed and has been abandoned for a few years.  But the blue glass inspired by “blueprints” remains on the storefront, and an architect (who used to draw buildings by hand) noticed an errant ray of sunlight turned blue by the glass that was illuminating the obsolete store.’

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