Photochroms of Tyrol from 1890s

Tyrol is a historical region in the Alps, in northern Italy and western Austria.

Photochrom is a process for producing colorized images from black-and-white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography (color lithography). The process was invented in the 1880s by Hans Jakob Schmid (1856–1924), an employee of the Swiss company Orell Gessner Füssli—a printing firm whose history began in the 16th century. Füssli founded the stock company Photochrom Zürich (later Photoglob Zürich AG) as the business vehicle for the commercial exploitation of the process and both Füssli and Photoglob continue to exist today. From the mid-1890s the process was licensed by other companies, including the Detroit Photographic Company in the US (making it the basis of their “phostint” process), and the Photochrom Company of London. The photochrom process was most popular in the 1890s, when true color photography was first developed but was still commercially impractical.

In 1898 the US Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act which let private publishers produce postcards. These could be mailed for one cent each, while the letter rate was two cents. Publishers created thousands of photochrom prints, usually of cities or landscapes, and sold them as postcards. In this format, photochrom reproductions became popular. The Detroit Photographic Company reportedly produced as many as seven million photochrom prints in some years, and ten to thirty thousand different views were offered. After World War One, which ended the craze for collecting Photochrom postcards, the chief use of the process was for posters and art reproductions. The last Photochrom printer operated up to 1970.

The Three Spires. / Image: Library of Congress
The Three Spires. / Image: Library of Congress
Lower Inn, Hall and Bettelwurfspitze. / Image: Library of Congress
Klausen. / Image: Library of Congress
Lermoos and the Zugspitze. / Image: Library of Congress
Monte Cristallo and Piz Popena Group. / Image: Library of Congress
Toblach and Val Ampezzo.
/ Image: Library of Congress
Toblino. / Image: Library of Congress
Sterzing. / Image: Library of Congress
Sella Joch and Langkofl. / Image: Library of Congress
Primiero. / Image: Library of Congress
Pragse, Wildsee, toward Sulden. / Image: Library of Congress
Ortler Territory, Stilfserjoch, Ferdinandshohe. / Image: Library of Congress
Karersee, Hotel and Lattemar. / Image: Library of Congress