"Perspective of Iron Consol Supporting Ceiling," by Thomas U. Walter, 1852
From 1800 to 1897, the Library of Congress was housed in the U.S. Capitol. An accidental fire gutted the main reading room on December 24, 1851. Thomas U. Walter, architect for the 1850s extension of the Capitol, designed a new fireproof room with an iron and glass ceiling. This elaborate consol acted as a ceiling support. Relatively inexpensive and quickly assembled, the ironwork was decorated with gold leaf and an elaborate paint scheme.
Architect of the Capitol