Re: Earliest Color Photo of US Freight Cars?

Mitchell Mercante

There are a number of very early color photographs shown in collections of museums from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Apparently it requires using several filters in a long process to create the color and was very time consuming and expensive.  I also doubted the subject photo was color but the process was available in that time period.  I have no idea if this photo was colorized or not but check Google for "earliest color photographs" for more detailed info and examples.

Mitch Mercante
Brentwood, TN

On Sunday, February 14, 2021, 01:10:23 PM CST, Chris Barkan <cplbarkan@...> wrote:

This photo is said to have been taken ca.1910 at the Eastern Packet Pier looking at the Commercial Wharf in Boston, MA just off Atlantic Avenue.  Rail service at this location was provided by the Union Freight Railroad that connected the New Haven and the Boston & Maine via street trackage that skirted downtown Boston serving various wharves, industries, and warehouses along the waterfront.  Four boxcars are visible: L to R, Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern, Erie, and two that appear to be Boston & Albany.  According to the individual who posted this it is a true color Autochrome Plate.  I would be happy have my speculation that it might be the "earliest" color photo of freight cars proven wrong, and would enjoy seeing any supporting evidence.

The following photo taken by Leslie Jones ca. 1930 shows the same wharf and is helpful visualizing the exact location in Boston.  That is the Atlantic Avenue Elevated on the left side of the photo, and long-departed component of what eventually became the present-day MBTA Orange Line.  This photo also has some interesting freight cars visible, including a NYNH&H double-sheathed wooden boxcar and an MDT reefer.

Chris Barkan
Champaign, IL

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