20 Colorized Photos Of Everyday Life Show History In A New Light

Is your perception of the 19th and 20th centuries somewhat grainy and distorted? If so, you’re not alone. The photographs of the era place an indelible stamp upon our consciousness, forever miring the times in blurry obscurity. But what happens when talented artists restore historical photos by adding a little color? They create a stunning exhibition of how things may have actually looked. When they restore photos of everyday life, they give us a fascinating glimpse into what life in the past was actually like, more vivid and relatable than ever before.

Driver Asks for Directions (1939)

Nothing says “America” like the open road. In this 1939 photo, a motorist stops at the New Mexico state line to ask for directions from a state trooper.

This was an especially exciting time in America. The auto industry was booming and car culture was exploding nationwide. By 1939, Americans had only been driving for twenty five years. That’s about as long as people have had access to the internet.

Car Accident (1921)

Imagine a time when a horse and buggy was about as outdated as a flip-phone is today. That was America in the infancy of the motor age. This accident looks pretty tame, but make no mistake – the car accidents of the time could be pretty nasty. Inexperienced drivers and less road regulations led to frequent mishaps on the road. You might assume the introduction of motor vehicles made the streets more dangerous, and you’d be right – sort of. It’s hard to know precisely how frequent pre-car traffic accidents were, but sources report horse-drawn carriages were regularly involved in accidents, including high-speed collisions. The precision of a motor vehicle probably looked pretty appealing compared to the unpredictable nature of animal-powered travel.

Colorized by Sanna Dullaway.

Imperial Airways Plane Refueling (1931)

Want to go a little further? In the 1930’s, you could hop on a passenger plane like this one. But be warned, air travel in those days was quite a bit different than it is now. For starters, there were no massive jumbo jets that could fly half-way around the world without stopping to refuel.

Colorized by Jared Enos.

Cab Stand In New York (c.1900)

If you wanted to hail a cab in turn of the century New York, this is what you’d get. Horse drawn carriages were the primary mode of urban transportation, but there were other ways to get around, including bicycles, trains, and even steam-powered predecessors to modern automobiles.

Colorized by Sanna Dullaway.

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