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21 Of The Oldest Color Photos Showing What The World Looked Like 100 Years Ago

Before 1907, photography was generally monochromatic. Things changed after the French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière invented a new way to transform photographs into vibrant colors. The new invention was called Autochrome Lumière.

The Lumière brother's invention used layers of dyed potato starch and light-sensitive emulsion to create vibrant photographs without the need for additional colorization. Before this invention, photographers had to use different dyes and pigments to color their photographs.


The Autochrome Lumière soon became obsolete after Kodak brought their new invention of Kodachrome film in 1935. The rise of digital photography in 2009 ultimately led Kodachrome to meet the same fate as Autochrome Lumière.

These stunning century-old color photographs show what the world looked like in color over 100 years ago.

Christina In Red, 1913


Autochrome by Etheldreda Janet Laing, 1908.


Autochrome by Friedrich Paneth, 1925.

Autochrome by Mervyn O'Gorman, 1913.

Autochrome by John Cimon Warburg, 1915.

The Grenata Street Army, 1915

Autochrome of Mark Twain by Alvin Langdon Coburn, 1908.

Autochrome by Etheldreda Janet Laing, 1908.

Autochrome by Fernand Cuville of French soldiers operating machine guns during the Second Battle of the Aisne, 1917.


Autochrome by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont of a French military cemetery, 1916.

Autochrome of the French Alps by an unknown artist, circa 1920.

Autochrome by Mervyn O'Gorman, 1913.

Autochrome by an unknown artist, 1911.

Autochrome of a scene in Egypt by Friedrich Paneth, 1913.

Autochome of a street in Jerusalem by an unknown artist during the early 20th century; from the Roger-Viollet collection.
Autochrome by an unknown artist of the Italian battleship Caio Duilio during the early 20th century.

Autochrome by Paul Castelnau of a French military observation post, 1917.

Autochrome by Friedrich Paneth, 1915.

Autochrome by Friedrich Paneth, 1913.

Autochrome by an unknown artist, 1913.

Autochrome by Etheldreda Janet Laing, 1908.

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