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Station at Toulon
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Édouard-Denis Baldus
French, Toulon, about 1861
Albumen print

84.XO.734.1.69

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Édouard Baldus made this photograph of the newly built train station at Toulon for the Paris-Lyons and Mediterranean Railroad, which commissioned him to document the engineering feats and historical sites along its route. Many railroad companies in America similarly hired photographers to photograph their expanding networks.

This image demonstrates the use of glass and cast iron in buildings; extremely popular in France at the time, glass and iron were being used to build everything from libraries and department stores to churches. This proliferation of glass and iron architecture occurred partly as a result of encouragement from Napoleon III, President and Emperor during the Second Empire, who believed that such technological feats best expressed the strength and modernity of France.