Obsolete Technology Prints and Photograph Collections

Tissandier collection

Three wonderful collections from the Library of Congress, showing obsolete technologies.

1. The World’s Transportation Commission Photograph Collection contains nearly nine hundred images by American photographer William Henry Jackson. In addition to railroads, elephants, camels, horses, sleds and sleighs, sedan chairs, rickshaws, and other types of transportation, Jackson photographed city views, street and harbor scenes, landscapes, local inhabitants, and Commission members as they travelled through North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.

Below: Boatmen towing sailboat against the wind up the Pieho to Peking.

Boatmen towing sailboat against the wind up the Pieho to Peking

Workmen repairing railroad track:

Workmen repairing railroad track

A camel train on the desert:

A camel train on the desert

Chinese gunboat:

Chinese gunboat

2. The Photochrom Print Collection has almost 6,000 views of Europe and the Middle East and 500 views of North America.
Published primarily from the 1890s to 1910s, these prints were created
by the Photoglob Company in Zürich, Switzerland, and the Detroit
Publishing Company in Michigan. The richly colored images look like
photographs but are actually ink-based photolithographs, usually 6.5 x 9 inches. 

Below: the knights’ hall, Mont St Michel, France:

The knights' hall, Mont St. Michel, France

The beach, Scheveningen, Holland:

The beach, Scheveningen, Holland

The beach, Scheveningen, Holland 2

Street in the old town, I, Biskra, Algeria:

Street in the old town, I, Biskra, Algeria

3. The Tissandier Collection contains approximately 975 items documenting the early history of aeronautics with
an emphasis on balloon flight in France and other European countries.
Subjects include general and technical images of balloons, airships,
and flying machines; portraits of famous balloonists; views of numerous
ascensions, accidents, and world’s fairs; cartoons featuring balloon
themes; pictorial and textual broadsides; and colorful ephemera and
poster advertisements. There are also several hundred illustrations
clipped from books and newspapers. The pictures, created by many
different artists, span the years 1773 to 1910, with the bulk dating

Tissandier collection overview

Via trialsanderrors and Tecnología Obsoleta (who highlights New York pictures).