Old color photographs of Scotland, 1890s

These beautiful, romantic vintage postcards show Scotland from a long time ago. Originally published by the Detroit Publishing Company, they were created by image makers fascinated by Scotland's castles and broad landscape and gives much of the collection a vivid vibe of the late 19th century.

The color effects on these images are created using the so-called "photochrome" technique. Photochrome was a process of producing color images from black and white photographic negatives through direct photographic transfer of negatives onto lithographic printing plates.

The process was invented in the 1880s and was most popular in the 1890s. The result is a cross between a photograph and a painting that depicts famous Scottish towns, landscapes and buildings in a unique way.

By 1800 Scotland was already one of the most urbanized societies in Europe. The industrial belt extended across the country from south-west to north-east; By 1900 the four industrial counties of Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire and Ayrshire comprised 44 percent of the population.

Glasgow and the River Clyde became a major shipbuilding centre. Glasgow became one of the largest cities in the world and was nicknamed the "Second City of the Empire", after London.

Industrial development, while they brought work and money, was so rapid that the provision of housing, urban planning and public health did not keep pace with them, and living conditions in some small towns and cities were notorious for a long time. With poor, overcrowded, high infant mortality, rising tuberculosis rates and industrial pollution.

The Detroit Photographic Company was founded in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr., and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher as a photographic publishing firm.

He obtained exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrome" process to convert black-and-white photographs into color images and print them by photolithography.

This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints and albums for sale in the US market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.

The color photographs of Scotland collected in this article are part of a wider collection of historic "photochrome" paintings purchased by the Library of Congress.

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