These rare historical photos were digitally coloured — and the results are a stunning glimpse of the past

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library and DynamichromeAn immigrant on Ellis Island in black and white and coloured photos.

Dynamichrome is a project dedicated to digitally reconstructing historical photos in colour, offering a brighter glimpse into the past.

One photo even shows the Eiffel Tower in its original reddish-brown colour. It’s been painted multiple times since then.

Dynamichrome’s director, Jordan Lloyd, teamed up with Retronaut website founder Wolfgang Wild to create a book featuring 124 of these photographs. The stunning photographs can be found in “The Paper Time Machine,” which is now on sale.

Check out some of the reconstructed historical photos below.


People crowd Mulberry Street in New York City in 1900.

Detroit Publishing Co/Library of CongressMulberry Street.

Mulberry Street was at the center of Little Italy.


The streets were filled with vendors.

Detroit Publishing Co/Library of Congress and DynamichromeMulberry Street in colour.

It got its name for its many mulberry trees.


A Union soldier guards a slave auction house in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864.

George N. Barnard/Library of CongressA slave auction house.

The auction house sat at 8 Whitehall Street.


The photo was taken by George N. Barnard, official army photographer for General William Tecumseh Sherman during the American Civil War.

George N. Barnard/Library of Congress and DynamichromeA slave auction house in colour.

Sherman was a general in the Union army.


Gutzon Borglum and a superintendent inspect work on Mount Rushmore in 1932.

Library of CongressMount Rushmore.

Construction on Mount Rushmore stopped in 1941.


The sculptures were originally supposed to go from head to waist.

Library of Congress and DynamichromeMount Rushmore in colour.

Lack of funding ended construction.


Wilbur Wright glides down the steep slope of Big Kill Devil Hill in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1902.

Wright Brothers/Library of CongressWilbur Wright flying.

This was an unpowered glider.


The Wright Brothers would complete their first powered flight in December 1903.

Wright Brothers/Library of Congress and DynamichromeWilbur Wright flying in colour.

The brothers developed a control system to pilot their flying machines.


Officials ride in one of the penstock pipes of the soon-to-be-completed Hoover Dam in 1935.

Bureau of ReclamationThe Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam is on the border of Nevada and Arizona.


The Hoover Dam was completed in 1936.

Bureau of Reclamation and DynamichromeThe Hoover Dam in colour.

It was originally known as the Boulder Dam.


The Golden Gate Bridge is still under construction in 1934.

Library of Congress/Chas. M. HillerThe Golden Gate Bridge.

The bridge is 1.7 miles long.


Construction ended in 1937.

Library of Congress/Chas. M. Hiller and DynamichromeThe Golden Gate Bridge in colour.

The bridge’s red colour is iconic – and custom-made.


The Eiffel Tower is in the middle of being built in 1888.

Roger Viollet/GettyThe Eiffel Tower.

It was originally built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair.


Construction was completed in 1889.

Roger Viollet/Getty and DynamichromeThe Eiffel Tower in colour.

It is 1,063 feet tall.


Workers are busy putting together the Statue of Liberty inside French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s workshop in Paris in 1882.

Albert Fernique/Library of CongressThe Statue of Liberty.

It was shipped to the United States from France.


The copper statue was dedicated in 1886.

Albert Fernique/Library of Congress and DynamichromeThe Statue of Liberty in colour.

She was a gift from France to the US.


In 1881, the Tower Bridge in London doesn’t connect quite yet.

English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty ImagesThe Tower Bridge.

The bridge is iconic.


It was completed in 1894.

English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images and DynamichromeThe Tower Bridge in colour.

It crosses the River Thames.


In 1942, during World War II, the Taj Mahal is partly covered in bamboo scaffolding to disguise it from enemy bombers.

Library of CongressThe Taj Mahal.

The bamboo was used to mislead attackers.


In front of it, Private First Class John C. Byrom, Jr., of Waco, Texas, is trying to catch a goldfish in the marble-lined pool. Corporal Anthony J. Scopelliti and Private First Class Ray Cherry are watching him try.

Library of Congress and DynamichromeThe Taj Mahal in colour.

WWII ended in 1945.


A Douglas SBD ‘Dauntless’ dive bomber balances on its nose after crash-landing on a carrier flight deck in 1943.

Library of Congress/DynamichromeA dive bomber.

SBD stands for Scout Bomber Douglas.


The Scout Bomber Douglas was first used at Pearl Harbour.

Library of Congress and DynamichromeA dive bomber in colour.

It’s best known for being used in the Battle of Midway.


This photo shows the interior of a salvaged U-Boat after being sunk in the North Sea in 1918.

Tyne and Wear Museums & ArchivesA U-Boat.

The term U-Boat derives from unterseeboote, German submarines.

Tyne and Wear Museums & Archives and DynamichromeA U-Boat in colour.

The German Navy had a fleet of 350 U-boats during World War I.


A “Laplander” is photographed by Augustus Francis Sherman, the chief registry clerk at Ellis Island, in the 1900s.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public LibraryAn immigrant on Ellis Island.

The photos are only captioned with the subject’s country of origin.


His photos were published in National Geographic in 1907.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library and DynamichromeAn immigrant on Ellis Island in colour.

The immigrants often wore their national dress.


Photographer Arnold Genthe captures Chinese immigrants on the “Street of Gamblers” in San Francisco.

Arnold Genthe/Library of CongressThe Street of Gamblers.

This was shot in 1896.


Many photographs of Chinatown were destroyed after earthquakes and fires hit in 1906.

Arnold Genthe/Library of Congress and DynamichromeThe Street of Gamblers in colour.

These photos were stored in a bank vault.

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