Before Color Photography became mainstream, there was Photochrom.
Photochrom images are ink-based, created through "the direct photographic transfer of an original negative onto litho and chromographic printing plates."
Hans Jakob Schmid (1856-1924) of the Swiss firm Orell Füssli, invented the Photochrom in the 1880s. Deceptively like color photographs, the small dots that comprise the ink-based photomechanical image are visible through a magnifying glass.
Photochrom allowed vivid color prints to be mass produced. The Detroit Photographic Company made as many as seven milllion prints a year with up to 30,000 different views.
Mail order catalogs and tourist sites sold Photochrom prints to globe trotters, armchair travelers, educators, and others to display at home or keep in albums. Large sets of images were stored in boxes resembling books with decorative binding.
Photochrom business boomed during the 1890s and early 1900s. Here's a small sample of these beautiful images from the past.
Thinking about taking up photography?
Here's where we'd start your research for each price category:
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