Most Beautiful Colorized Images In History
When you place a colorized image next to one that is black and white, it becomes evident that color adds a depth of contextual visualization to photos. One may wonder why colors add so many differences to images, especially in throwing more illumination to past visuals. You will discover that the following color images that once lacked colors are now easier to understand. All thanks to a group of committed digital editors who were able to transform the original photos. These early 20th-century images, in their original black and white form, could reveal only little about past events. However, adding color to the photos now helps viewers to gain more insights about the past, leading to an increased appreciation of historical figures or significant world events. Check how Richard James Molloy colorized world-famous pictures and how different they look now.
1907: The Royal group (with Kaiser Wilhelm II and Edward VII) at Windsor Castle
The photo shows the “who is who” in Europe seven years before the world war resulting from the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. The English and Russian royal families are well represented in the photo. Notable among them are King Edward VII, Princess Beatrice of Great Britain, German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia. The Crimson Drawing-Room hangout of both royal families could not have been free from tension considering that some people were at loggerheads. However, most of them had to stand wholly to allow the photographer to take the photo.
1881: Constructing the Statue of Liberty
In the early 19th century, the president of the French Anti-Slavery Society, Édouard René de Laboulaye proposed the construction of the US Statue of Liberty. It took several decades to finish the statue, which was to serve as a memorial to the United States’ independence. In a bid to unite the countries, the workers that built the statue were from the US and France.
The figure chosen for the statue is Columbia combined with Libertas known as the goddess of freedom. On completing the building of the statue in France, it was moved to America via a steamer. It was in America that other pieces were constructed to form the actual statue that several tourists visit today.
1963: Separated by The Berlin Wall, two german brothers are reunited
The Berlin Wall of 1961 cannot be forgotten so soon, at least not by those it severely impacted. In the photo, are two brothers that were separated for two years by the wall. The original motive of the wall was to curb a significant crisis between places in Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and West Berlin.
However, the fact that many members of different families were separated from one another because no one could pass the checkpoints left the wall without fans. In 1963, a border pass agreement was put in place after many complaints. Thus, people who lived in the West were able to travel to the East to see their relatives. It was not until many decades later that the wall was finally put down.
1955: Walt Disney and a map of "Disneyland", his first theme park
Have you ever thought of the brain behind the famous "Disneyland"? Well, we have got Walt Disney to credit for it. He decided to create a safe space for families after noticing that alcohol and other unsafe things were common in most amusement parks in the '50s. Building the park around Disney characters like Donald Duck and Mickey was reasonable since they were famous in the '40s and still are till date. Disney used those characters in a way kids find interesting with parents not left out of the fun all over the park.
"The one thing for me... the important thing... is the family, and keeping the family together with things. That's been the backbone of our whole business, catering to families… The park means a lot to me. It's something that will never be finished, something I can keep developing".
1956: The smallest man in the world, Henry Behrens, with his pet cat
Although 2-foot tall Henry Behrens happens to be the smallest man worldwide in 1956, comparing his height with the 30-inch standing height of the cat shows that the cat is huge. In the 1950s, smaller people had few ways they could make money like being part of a midget troupe. Behrens was part of the "Burton Lester's midget troupe" then. Behrens' huge cat complimented his shenanigans lifestyle. His small stature did not deny him from enjoying life like other people. Apart from cooking, he was able to clean like us. He referred to himself as "Colonel Peewee."
1947: Danish explorer Peter Freuchen and wife Dagmar Cohn
People who look cool tend to have a mind-blowing underlining story. The image shows Peter Freuchen, a man born in 1886 in Denmark. His childhood days were just like that of any other child at that time. However, things began to look different when he could no longer pursue his medical career and sought adventure.
Arriving in Greenland in 1906, Freuchen embarked on a dogsled hunt of 600 miles and also traded with Inuits. One of the polar bears he killed on the hunt was used to make the perfectly-fitted coat he's wearing in the picture. Freuchen lectured about Inuit culture in 1910 before embarking on another journey across Greenland, one where he got buried in the snow. But, he was able to dig himself out using his special knife made from feces. It is why dinner with him is second to nothing.
1906: Boat races at Palm Beach, Miami
According to Lloyd E. Brown, the second annual Palm Beach Regata was the most successful winter racing event. At the event which held from January 30 to February 2, 1906, many fans of boating hung maxed while they watched the long racing weekend. Brown later wrote:
The closing day of the regatta was by far the most successful, bringing out the best that was in the speedy flyers. The contest for the Dewar Shield was the main feature of the day, it being won by H. L. Bowden's Mercedes, victor in both heats, although her time was a disappointment to those gathered at the carnival and expectant for new world's records.
1957: Norman Rockwell After the Prom
Norman Rockwell’s exceptional painting skills and eye for detail immediately come to mind when you look closely at the “After the Prom” reference photo. The realistic nature of his paintings makes it difficult to differentiate this photo from the painting. Despite his outstanding talent, he was never considered an artist in his lifetime. Instead, his peers thought of him as an illustrator. From the photo, you will agree that apart from being interested in displaying the simplicity of American life, he also focused on making it look real. This practice and ability make his work valuable even after his death.
1964: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali
Many a time, we make mistakes that we wish never was. One person who made such a mistake is Muhammad Ali, initially called Cassius Clay. Not long after the famous boxer became a Muslim in 1964, he had to end his friendship with Malcolm X because Malcolm decided to separate from Elijah Muhammad. Unfortunately, Malcolm was assassinated on February 21, 1965, when he was delivering a speech in Harlem. It was after Malcolm's assassination that Ali realized that his decision to end their friendship was not the best. But, it was too late to reconcile. In Malcolm's autobiography, Ali wrote:
Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things. But he was killed before I got the chance… Malcolm and I were so close and had been through so much.
1912: Austrian-born French tailor, Franz Reichelt, before his fateful jump
It is never a crime to dream big, especially when realizing such a dream can make living better for everyone. But, it is important to take meaningful steps to achieve one's goal. In doing this, some people have taken unbelievable steps that still amazes many people today. One such person is Franz Reichelt, who understood early enough that saving the lives of several people will in the future depend on the harnessing of air resistance.
In the early 20th century, Franz Reichelt designed and created foldable silk wings sequel to the offering of 10,000 francs prize money by Colonel Lalance of the Aéro-Club de France. The prize money was for anyone who could produce a usable parachute at a time when air travel was becoming very popular. Reichelt's silk wings called "parachute-suit" were similar to the flight suit used then but had extra features like canopy and rubber lining.
“On the morning of February 4th, 1912 Reichelt revealed that he would jump from the Eiffel Tower to prove the efficiency of his parachute-suit, saying, “I want to try the experiment myself and without trickery, as I intend to prove the worth of my invention.” At 8:22 am he leaped from the Eiffel Tower and sank through the air like a stone.”
1863: Union Soldiers taking a break
This photo evokes a memory about the past. Imagine seeing more snapshots of events like the Civil War era in natural color. Such will give a new look at history and help us understand more about the events that would have escaped the reach of the millennial. The Union soldiers had already divided the southern army at the time this picture was taken.
They had gained control of the Mississippi River after a series of bloody battles with the Confederates two years before the Civil War. Just before the War, there were technological advancements giving room for the production of tintypes. They also enabled the viewing of photos from the war to be a regular experience. After an exhibit of the war photography, the New York Times wrote:
The photographer] has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.
Unloading supplies on Omaha for the break-out from Normandy
A barrage balloon is used to raise cables that create a collision risk for enemy soldiers, making an approach problematic. Although setting the barrage balloons is not with its disadvantages. Even with the 320th Antiaircraft Balloon set up to slow down Luftwaffe’s attack at Omaha beach, German artillery fighters were still able to bombard the ships with gunfire. It was a fierce battle as the soldiers had cut their kites loose to give the long-range fighters of the German a less easy target. Many of the soldiers working on these massive kite balloons worked so hard to keep things under control.
1935: Construction of the Hoover Dam
Looking at the Hoover Dam, one is tempted to find out about those who conceived and perfected such a masterpiece. A closer look at the image suggests that a building of that sort would have required collective efforts, and that is just the case. Thousands of workers built the Hoover Dam located on the border of Arizona and Nevada in the 1930s. These workers had migrated to the area at the time of the Great Depression, hoping to make ends meet while working extremely hard. A large amount of workforce ensured that the dam’s construction was ahead of the scheduled completion time. Pouring a total of 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete was concluded as early as May 29, 1935. Meanwhile, the dedication of the dam was on September 30, 1935.
Sometimes, it is difficult to believe that Dolly Parton hailed from a wretched Appalachian family, considering that she became the world's top country music star. She is indeed one of the best performers to have lived in the 20th century. Just after she changed from singing country music to pop in 1977, her songs became top hits. It was to the extent that she won the Grammy a year later with "Here You Come Again." Not only did she showcase her musical talent during shows in the '70s, but she also displayed her comedy skills. In 1980, she got her biggest hit after performing the theme song Nine to Five. The song was ranked top on the country and two adult-contemporary charts.
1945: Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler’s bathtub
The person in the photo is Lee Miller, who happens to be a renowned fashion model in New York City before becoming a photojournalist. Back in Paris before World War II, she worked in places like Man Ray and Cocteau but later decided to have a different experience with the camera.
Attached to the 83rd Infantry Division of the US Army, Miller took shots of the atrocities at Dachau Concentration Camp before heading for Hitler's Munich apartment. Dachau concentration camp mud covered her boot in the photo and it turned the whole surreal image thing to one big F You to the Third Reich leader. She spent the majority of her life after the war in her farm located in Sussex, England. As she grew weak, friends like Pablo Picasso enjoyed her company, especially with her surreal meals that resemble blue spaghetti and green chicken present.
1912: The RMS Titanic
Who has not heard of the Titanic? Even many of the 21st-century kids would have seen the movie made of the iconic ship. Constructed in 1909, the Titanic was assumed unsinkable, and it was a home from home for the wealthiest people in the world. The sister ship to the Olympic had amenities second to no other ships with its send class accommodation were just as good if not superior to the first-class sections of other boats. The ship was not considered seaworthy until April 1912 even though it was launched since May 31, 1911. Titanic weighed 52,000 tons when displaced, and it took its historic debutant voyage on April 10, 1912.
1950: US Marine Dwayne L. Boice at Wolmido Island burning out a weapon's emplacement
War has always left unpleasant memories behind, and the Korea war of 1950 was not different. As the war, which was ripping the country in two halves was ongoing, the United Nations (UN) supported South Korea as against the famous communists North Korea. The image is that of a US soldier burning a weapon’s emplacement at Wolmido Island on Sept. 10, 1950.
Early 1960s: "The Rat Pack" in New York
The Rat Pack popular in the ‘60s both on and offstage. Apart from their shows, which they put up together, they also hang out together. It is said that no one knows what is next when they are together, especially on a Las Vegas night. The group comprising of four men performed spontaneously during shows.
The truth is that most people today will stay away from the type of trouble the group got itself into then because of the prevalence of cameras everywhere. Frank was the leader of the group, and he had the full support of the rest of the group members – Jean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford.
1960: Clint Eastwood and his 1958 Jag XK 120
The name Eastwood would always ring a bell, especially if you are conversant with the Hollywood. The photo is that of Eastwood in his swanky ride some years before he made it big time in Hollywood. After appearing in films like Lafayette Escadrille as a second fiddle to Tab Hunter and b-movies like Tarantula, he proceeded to Italy to have his major hit in the movie “A Fistful of Dollars.” Apart from film appearances, Eastwood was also known to be the anchor for Rawhide and Death Valley Days (both were television western). Apparently, he made a lot of money from TV, an explanation for the expensive ride in the picture.
1943: Major Donald James Matthew Blakeslee, Ohio
The way some photos feel so real, you will be tempted to want to touch whoever is in it. An example of such a picture is the colorized photo of Major Blakeslee in his cockpit back in 1943. He was at that time flying a P-47 Thunderbolt attached to the 335th Fighter Squadron. His records show that he flew 240 combat hours with RAF and that he had three confirmed victories. Blakeslee often joked about his love of combat flying.
1898: Otto von Bismarck
One can draw several inferences from Bismarck’s look in the picture. His look reveals that he has seen it all in life. It is a true statement because he spent lots of time in battle relative to the time spent at home. Not only was Bismarck a genius in foreign affairs, but he also founded and served as the first Chancellor of the German Empire. The style of Bismarck’s rule revealed that he was an authoritarian. Voted out of power in 1890, he chose to resign instead of piloting the country into a civil war. Despite being in affluence, the government that took over from Bismarck received several terse rebuttals from him.
A room aboard the Titanic
Hardly will the name Titanic be mentioned and it will be strange to anyone. Many people who initially knew nothing about the beast were in the know after watching the movie. Unlike other liners, which have rooms similar to tiny prison rooms, Titanic was in a class of its own. The photo shows one of the rooms in the gigantic sea beast. You will agree that the masterpiece was exceptional. Examining any of the rooms in the first-class section, you might have mistaken it for a palace. The interior of Titanic was carefully crafted to give riders a different experience while they floated. The fact that some wealthy riders on board could open the interconnecting doors to form a suite is unimaginable.
1940: Albert Einstein in his Princeton, New Jersey home
Before the death of Albert Einstein in 1955, he settled and lived in Princeton, New Jersey. He lived there for his last 22 years alive. The decision to live there was after comparing Princeton to Pasadena in California. Originally, he lived in Germany but faced extreme racism, making him move to the US. Einstein is one of the most intelligent persons that lived in the 20th century. He worked at the "Institute of Advanced Study" in Princeton before his death.
Early 1900s: New York City
New York City was long known as the center of the western world. The city was filled with aristocrats and individuals looking to make their way in the world back in the day. Although people in the city still made use of gas lamps and local equipment in the 1900s, with time, the place changed from residential streets into a city full of skyscrapers. Many office buildings were erected across the city and in the Lower Broadway especially. They tower over the many old buildings that had rocked the city for generations. Even though New Yorkers were unsure about the modern buildings springing up at that time, they have fast turned into the way of life of the city dwellers.
1944: 101st Airborne Troops taking off to Normandy, France for “Operation Chicago"
In the heat of World War II, soldiers knew that any mission they go for could as well be their last. The soldiers in the photo did not have a different opinion. They were all ready for "Operation Chicago," which happened to be one of the three missions assigned to 101st Airborne Division. The mission was meant to bring more troops into Normandy as well as more firepower.
At around 4 am, the soldiers arrived at France haven entered through Dakota C-47s and Waco gliders. No doubt, the operation was successful though not without the loss of General Pratt and about 499 other soldiers. General Pratt was the then second in command of the division. The infantry division carried out another successful operation the next day.
1965: Singer Bob Dylan in New York
1965 was a remarkable year for Bob Dylan who spent so much time writing and performing at the peak of artistry career. The stardom headlined the Newport Folk Festival that same year where he played three songs with his first live electric set. Bob also released the cue card laden video for Subterranean Homesick Blues and recorded many other songs in 1965. Before the year ran out, Bob Dylan was exhausted by the attention he received from the media for being the nation’s poet. He later disappeared from the public eye for eight years after a mysterious motorcycle incident.
1944: German commando disguised in American uniform preparing for execution
Only a few things that can be as excruciating as dying by the firing squad. The photo is that of a German soldier caught dressed in American soldiers' uniform and prepared to be executed. After World War II ended, German troops did whatever was necessary to help them avert capture in Europe. So, many of them hid by dressing as American soldiers. However, the unlucky ones were caught and executed. On suspecting anyone, questions like state capitals and sports trivia that only American troops would know were asked.
Nobel Prize Laureate & "Father of Chemical Warfare ", Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber was busy throughout World War 1 preparing deadly chemicals weapons for the army. As the leading physical chemist in Germany, Haber was called to create crazier weapons for the German military as the fighting kept increasing. The chemist was proactive in the development of tear gas at the time the army needed one. He even found a way of turning chlorine gas into a deadly weapon for the military. It is not a surprise that Haber received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work following the end of the war. He had worked on nitrogen fixation which helped create a weapon for the war and as well produced fertilizers.
1954: Pablo Picasso
Picasso was a great artist of the 20th century who spent a large part of his life-changing the way viewers thought about a subject through his artworks. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he was well known for cubism, although he only worked in that style for about ten years in his career. He had ditched painting by1950s altogether with a focus on sculpture as he appeared in films like Jean Coteau’s Testament of Orpheus. Chicago Picasso, a 50-foot high abstract shape which was interpreted as an animal or woman was of the most notable sculpture of Pablo Picasso. He refused payment for the project and donated it to the city.
1930s: Amelia Earhart
The woman in the photo, Amelia Earhart is not just a cautionary tale like some people believe. She happens to have been more important than that being the sixteenth woman to obtain a pilot license. In 1928, she eventually became the first woman pilot to over the Atlantic Ocean and the 1st pilot to fly across both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. She disappeared in 1937 during one of her adventurous flight, specifically the one where she was trying to circumnavigate the world. Many researchers believe she ran out of fuel around 35-100 miles from Howland Island during the trip. Lots of people, especially adventurers remember her today.
These colorized pictures are just awesome! Adding color to these black and white pictures gives us a better understanding of past events or at least help contextualize the visuals in a better way. Let us know which was the most beautiful colorized image on this list, in your opinion. If you like this article, kindly share it with friends who enjoy reading about history in the form of colorized historical pictures.