Detroit Publishing Company: From Black-and-White to Color in the Catskills

April 29, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

In the blog posts of April 8 and April 15 the importance of the photochrom process was discussed as part of the history of the Detroit Publishing Company. As a brief recap the process was invented in the 1880s in Zurich, Switzerland. The exclusive American rights to use the photochrom process was acquired in the mid-1890s by the Photochrom Company, predecessor to the Detroit Publishing Company.

 

This revolutionary new process allowed for the conversion of black-and-white photographs into color images and for the mass production of prints, postcards, and albums. At the time color photography as we know it did not exist, therefore the exclusive rights to the “photochrom” process provided the Photochrom Company at Detroit a significant competitive advantage throughout the United States.

 

Using the black-and-white images of the Detroit Publishing Company held with the Library of Congress and my personal collection of colorized photochrom postcards, it is incredible to see the transformation in comparing the original black-and-white image to the resulting color image. Given my amazement in seeing this transformation brought to life with images from the Catskills I thought it would be interesting to share some of these before-and-after comparisons.

 

Rip Van Winkle House, Catskill Mountains

Rip Van Winkle House, Sleepy Hollow, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Rip Van Winkle House, Sleepy Hollow, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

6372, version 1_Rip Van Winkle House, Catskill Mountains6372, version 1_Rip Van Winkle House, Catskill Mountains

 

Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains

Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

10124_Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains10124_Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains

 

A Mountain Toll Gate

A Catskill Mountain toll gateA Catskill Mountain toll gate

6374_A Mountain Toll Gate6374_A Mountain Toll Gate

 

Old Studio of Artist Hall, Palenville, Catskill Mountains

Old studio of artist Hall, near Palenville, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Old studio of artist Hall, near Palenville, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

6373, version 1_Old Studio of Artist Hall, Palenville, Catskill Mountains6373, version 1_Old Studio of Artist Hall, Palenville, Catskill Mountains

 

Alligator Rock, Near South Lake, Catskill Mountains

Alligator Head near South Lake, Catskill Mts., N.Y.Alligator Head near South Lake, Catskill Mts., N.Y.

6367_Alligator Rock, Near South Lake, Catskill Mountains6367_Alligator Rock, Near South Lake, Catskill Mountains

 

Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mountains

Kaaterskill Falls from below, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Kaaterskill Falls from below, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

6365_Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mountains6365_Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mountains

 

Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains

Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

6368_Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains6368_Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains

 

Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains

Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains, N.Y.

 

6370_Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains6370_Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains

 

 

 


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