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
Boulder Rock and Hotel Kaaterskill, Catskill Mountains
A Mountain Toll Gate
Old Studio of Artist Hall, Palenville, Catskill Mountains
Alligator Rock, Near South Lake, Catskill Mountains
Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mountains
Haines Falls, Catskill Mountains
Sunset Rock, Kaaterskill Clove, Catskill Mountains