Photos from the Past. . . . . .

These 50 Photos From The Past Are Shocking And Hilarious. I Can’t Believe How Things Have Changed…

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These photographers may have never known the significance of the pictures they took and that millions would be marveling at them in the future. From thousands of images, I chose these to give us a rare and fascinating look at how different (and similar) life used to be.Thanks for visiting Distractify and I hope you enjoy.

The oldest known selfie. (1839)

The oldest known selfie. (1839)

hyperallergic.com

Robert Cornelius took this photo outside the store his family owned. It became famous for being the first self portrait or as its commonly now known, a “selfie.”

People posing next to the Statue of Liberty as it’s unpacked. (1886)

People posing next to the Statue of Liberty as it's unpacked. (1886)

This funny portrait of a woman was taken while she was mid-sneeze. (1900)

This funny portrait of a woman was taken while she was mid-sneeze. (1900)

A “knocker-up” waking up clients – the early 20th century version of alarm clocks.

A

Nine kings gather to mourn the death of King Edward VII (1910).

Nine kings gather to mourn the death of King Edward VII (1910).

This may very well be the most kings ever photographed at once. Represented are Norway, Bulgaria, Portugal, the German Empire, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, and Denmark.

Before automatic pinsetters were invented, “pin boys” worked to manually line them up. (1914).

Before automatic pinsetters were invented,

Sarcastic photo taken by anti-prohibitionists to mock their opponents in 1919.

Sarcastic photo taken by anti-prohibitionists to mock their opponents in 1919.

A police officer on a Harley and an old fashioned mobile holding cell. (1921)

A police officer on a Harley and an old fashioned mobile holding cell. (1921)

An early example of “horsemanning”, the 1920’s version of “planking”.

An early example of

Two winners of a 1922 Beauty Pageant, when beauty standards were much different.

Two winners of a 1922 Beauty Pageant, when beauty standards were much different.

shorpy

An beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren’t too short (1920s)

An beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren't too short (1920s)

Suits were not allowed to end more than 6 inches above the knee.

A couple enjoys an old fashioned zipline on a weekend afternoon. (1923)

A couple enjoys an old fashioned zipline on a weekend afternoon. (1923)

This bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

This bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

A mildly terrifying 1920s full faced swimming mask designed to protect women from the sun.

A mildly terrifying 1920s full faced swimming mask designed to protect women from the sun.

Hitler rehearsing his speeches in front of a mirror (1925).

Hitler rehearsing his speeches in front of a mirror (1925).

The LA Public Library’s bookmobile program for the sick. (1928)

The LA Public Library’s bookmobile program for the sick. (1928)

A zookeeper gives penguins a delightful shower from a watering can. (1930)

A zookeeper gives penguins a delightful shower from a watering can. (1930)

The One Wheel Motorcycle, capable of reaching a top speed of 93 mph. (1931)

The One Wheel Motorcycle, capable of reaching a top speed of 93 mph. (1931)

A cat poses for a cigarette card, found in Army Club Cigarettes. (1932)

A cat poses for a cigarette card, found in Army Club Cigarettes. (1932)

How makers of the famous London Double-Decker buses proved they weren’t a tipping hazard. (1933)

How makers of the famous London Double-Decker buses proved they weren't a tipping hazard. (1933)

Baby cages for 1930s apartment families who wanted their children to get enough sunlight.

Baby cages for 1930s apartment families who wanted their children to get enough sunlight.

The iconic photo of a concerned pea-picker and mother of seven children during the Dust Bowl (1936)

The iconic photo of a concerned pea-picker and mother of seven children during the Dust Bowl (1936)

These glasses were specifically made for reading in bed

These glasses were specifically made for reading in bed

The 1930’s version of a GPS: This auto scrolling map was supposed to help people with directions in real time.

The 1930's version of a GPS: This auto scrolling map was supposed to help people with directions in real time.

Model T “Elevator Garage” in Chicago. (1936)

Model T

Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel sharing a smoke. (1938)

Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel sharing a smoke. (1938)

“Face Cones”: a fashionable way to protect oneself during snowstorms (1939).

A bicycle that fits a family of four, including a sewing machine. (1939).

A bicycle that fits a family of four, including a sewing machine. (1939).

Babies wearing the gas mask hood system during a 1940 London bombing drill.

Babies wearing the gas mask hood system during a 1940 London bombing drill.

WWII soldiers get their last kiss before deployment.

WWII soldiers get their last kiss before deployment.

A tiny puppy sleeping comfortably between Russian soldiers. (1945)

A tiny puppy sleeping comfortably between Russian soldiers. (1945)

An Austrian boy couldn’t be more excited about his first pair of new shoes in years. (1946)

An Austrian boy couldn't be more excited about his first pair of new shoes in years. (1946)

misslucifer

A baby bear drinks a bowl of honey in a cafe. (1950)

A baby bear drinks a bowl of honey in a cafe. (1950)

A man dresses up his dog in a suit, then puts a cat in his lap. (1950s)

A man dresses up his dog in a suit, then puts a cat in his lap. (1950s)

An ice-cold whisky dispenser, sometimes found in offices. (1950s)

An ice-cold whisky dispenser, sometimes found in offices. (1950s)

The winner of the 1950 “Miss Atomic Bomb” pageant.

The winner of the 1950

Afghan women at a public library during the 1950s.

Afghan women at a public library during the 1950s.

The Afghanistan government was shifting towards democracy in the 1950s and 60s before the Taliban took over. Women could work, become educated, dress casually and use many of the modern day services that men could.

A young Paul McCartney takes a mirror selfie. (1959)

A young Paul McCartney takes a mirror selfie. (1959)

[Colorized] Young women hosting a 1950s house party.

[Colorized] Young women hosting a 1950s house party.

Fidel Castro lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial. (1959)

Fidel Castro lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial. (1959)

The Cat-Mew Machine. (1963)

The Cat-Mew Machine. (1963)

This Japanese machine meows times per minute to scare away rats and mice. The eyes light up too.

A young woman takes her pet lobster out for a walk.

A young woman takes her pet lobster out for a walk.

Young boy attending Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, 28th Aug 1963.

Young boy attending Martin Luther King Jr's

reddit.com

The “TV Glasses” that never quite caught on. (1963)

The

“The Kiss of Life”. This iconic photo shows a utility worker receiving mouth-to-mouth after being electrocuted. He survived. (1967).

A young Osama Bin Laden with his family in Sweden during the 1970s. He is second from the right in a green shirt.

A young Osama Bin Laden with his family in Sweden during the 1970s. He is second from the right in a green shirt.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham playing volleyball in 1971.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham playing volleyball in 1971.

Although we did everything differently back then, these photos also show that deep down, raw human spirit never changes. Our compassion, ingenuity, curiosity, and perseverance as a species will always stand the test of time.

We’re a team of writers who love creating content for curious people like you. Check Distractify out daily for more mind blowing photo lists like this one!

I am interested in your reaction. . . Do you have old family photos? Do you have some, as I do, with no names and the people who would have known are gone?  Which is your favorite picture and why? I like the dust bowl mother and the pet bear cub!  Thanks for sharing!  

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in Animals, Uncategorized, USA and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Photos from the Past. . . . . .

  1. Anne, these photos are amazing! Where do I start – it’s got to be the baby in the cage hanging out the window. Wow! And the boy listening to Dr. King’s speech. And the face cones. Who knew? Wonderful! ~Terri

    • annetbell says:

      I was going to tell you that on our visit to Athens in the 80s, ouch…so long ago, there was horrible pollution and cars could not enter the city except on odd or even days according to their license plate. Professor was annoyed big time that the Acropolis ruins were roped off. He commented that they had stood a long time without rope-offs! We were horrified by the strikes. . . banks, transportation (bus to the ferry) …. We were happy to leave except for Mykonos. Wow was that wonderful !

      • What an experience! As you and I both know, the 80s were a tough time for Greece and there was a lot of political unrest, most of it centered in Athens. When we went back a few years later it was much better. We haven’t made it to Mykonos yet – I hear it’s a joy! ~T

      • annetbell says:

        We were traveling for 2 months with our 12 and 6 year old children. To get to Pyrenees (sp) for the ferry we had to lie down in the center of the bus in case the demonstrators threw bricks at the bus! Very scary and crazy, though there were no bricks thrown at our bus!

        Architect had had Mykonos on his list since A-school. First, someone talked us into another island which was nearer (Mykonos is 8 hours by ferry or was then). There is much understandable competition between islands for tourists. As we docked, I could see the disappointment in his eyes and he said, “This is not LIKE Mykonos!” I insisted that we go back and try again and it was totally worth it! GO only to Mykonos (there is an airport on the island) or Santorini !

        Back then, old women met the ferry to get visitors for their guest rooms. That was amazing as they started fighting and yelling to get our business!

    • annetbell says:

      So glad you enjoyed them and terrific to hear from you !

  2. Very interesting photos – but I notice that people didn’t care about animals as we do now. The one with the dressed up dog and the cat was horrifying. Things really have changed in many ways. I’m thinking particularly about the baby cages and the weird gas masks.

    We have lots of old photos, some with no names on them. My favorites are probably the ones of my parents as children or young adults and the same with my grandparents and aunts and great-aunts (people I’ve met).

    • annetbell says:

      You are correct. I don’t think that there was nearly as much concern for animals in the past as now. Even when I was growing up there were dogs let out to roam and play all over town. And I agree that photos where we know the subjects are the most interesting. I do think, though, that writing names on them is helpful for the generations as yet unborn.

  3. lauramacky says:

    Those were amazing!!! That mask for swimming was frightening. Inspiration for Jason in Halloween!

  4. Cee Neuner says:

    These were marvelous. It showed how things stay the same, but not all at the same time. Well composed. 🙂

    • annetbell says:

      Thanks for commenting Cee. . . . Yes if you are thoughtful you see similarities from then and now with a few things way different. Fun to learn about the past through images and not have to read!

  5. YellowCable says:

    Those are funny pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  6. hugmamma says:

    hugs for sharing…they were all great!

  7. gpcox says:

    Whoa! What a post, a fantastic collection of the ages!! Great work, Anne.

  8. A great compilation !!!

  9. inavukic says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed them all, Anne – must say, though, I love the little Austrian boy in utter joy at getting his first shoes in 1946… it took me back to my childhood, although few years later than that but still war devastation and poverty everywhere…and the smallest of things we now take for granted were then a source of pure joy – shoes, a whole apple or orange all to yourself/no need to share for the first time…

  10. Dalo 2013 says:

    Such incredible photos…not sure which was I liked best as they were all so moving in one way or another. The ‘Kiss of Life” is pretty powerful…the Austrian Boy and his shoes another, as I think we have forgotten how important the little things are. Thank you for this post.

  11. Val Boyko says:

    Thank you Anne for finding and sharing these amazing photos!
    And for sharing the common humanity that we share across time and cultures.
    I’ll be back fro more inspiration here 🙂
    Val

  12. Val Boyko says:

    Reblogged this on Find Your Middle Ground and commented:
    This is an amazing collection of photos from the past! Enjoy 🙂

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