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10 of the world’s oldest color photos reveal a fascinating look at what the world looked like a century ago

When you say old photographs, you instantly think of white and black photos. However, when looking at these amazing photographs dating back to the 20th century, the period when it was possible to take colored pictures is a lot shorter than you may think.

Before 1907, professional colorists tended to color their photographs using different dyes and pigments, until the French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière came up with a world-beating invention: the first practical color photography process, the Autochrome Plate. The process involved glass plates, a backlight, soot and (oddly) potato starch. When the plate was flipped and exposed to light, the resulting image could be developed into a transparency composed of small color dots which they give a mixed colors due to their tiny size. Autochrome was firstly introduced in Paris and immediately became extremely popular,  it then got a lot of interest especially from amateur photographs.

Like old white and black photography, the Autochrome process was a slow process, its exposures take a long time and the subjects had to stay still to avoid getting a blurred image. Despite these limitations, the Lumières’ autochrome process was a commercial hit of color photography. It remained one of the most popular methods for color photography until the 1930s, when Kodak took things to a whole new level with the invention of Kodachrome film. Kodachrome  was later beaten by the invention of digital photography which is now by far the world’s most popular way to take pictures.

We can’t ignore that this revolution in photography technology wouldn’t have been possible without the achievements of early pioneers like Auguste and Louis Lumière.  Scroll down for a beautiful collection of color images from the early parts of the 20th century.

#1 Christina In Red, 1913

#2 Sisters Sitting In A Garden Tying Roses Together, 1911

#3 Musing (Mrs. A. Van Besten), C. 1910

#4 Daydreams, 1909

#5 Heinz And Eva On The Hillside, 1925

#6 Flower Street Vendor, Paris, 1914

#7 The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1914

#8 Moulin Rouge, Paris, 1914

#9 The Grenata Street Army, 1915

#10 A Girl Holds A Doll Next To Soldiers’ Equipment In Reims, France, 1917