Mr. Sandman Bring Me a Dream … {On the Shore, Summertime Sadness, Vintage Photographs from Yale University}

{Salt Air Pavilion, Salt Lake City, Utah – 1901}

These fantastic Photochromes from the Detroit Photographic Co. were taken from Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and feature some impressive technique in the art of color.

+”Mr. Sandman Bring Me A Dream…”+

{The Sand Man, Atlantic City circa. 1900}

{Fun on the Beach in Atlantic City circa. 1902}

Far before colored film was available, photographers were able to tint their black & white using a complicated process known as the Photochrome process:

A litho stone was coated with a thin layer of purified bitumen dissolved in benzene. A reversed half-tone negative was then pressed against this light-sensitive coating and an exposure in daylight made (taking from 10-30 minutes in summer, to several hours in winter). The bitumen hardened and became resistant to normal solvents in proportion to the light. The coating was then washed in turpentine solutions, removing the unhardened bitumen. It was then retouched in the tonal scale of the chosen color to strengthen or soften the tones as required. Each tint needed a separate stone bearing the appropriate retouched image, and prints were usually produced by at least six, and more commonly from 10 to 15 tint stones.


The House of Mystery…

{The Cliff House, San Francisco circa. 1899}

So just think how lucky we are today not to have to go through these complicated and painstaking processes. Or maybe, too bad we don’t go through them all today.

The process was immensely popular from the 1890s through to around 1910. It’s undeniable, the images created using the Photochrome process possess a mysteriously affecting and beautiful effect that almost bring these moments right back to life.

The water is just seconds away from rippling to shore…Did you just hear the splash of water? Must be my imagination…

Enjoy the rest of these incredible Photochrome images of summer days now gone.

We found these over at 50Watts who have even more fantastic photographic fantasies from the Detroit Photographic Co. {click here}

Do you have any vintage summer memories to share? Email us at:

We’d love to hear from you!



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