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A Historical Look At Incredibly Rare Photos

Throughout the years, photography has captured small glimpses into days gone by. Recently, there is a surge in previously unreleased and freshly uncovered photographs. These pictures have ranged from highlighting atrocities to awe-inspiring to eerie to rare photos not appropriate for history books and everything in between.

Paris, France (1880s): Constructing the Statue of Liberty

In this image, you can see the famous New York skyline without the iconic statue as she was not ready for her debut. At that time, Lady Liberty assembles by the French engineer, Gustave Eiffel. Lady Liberty unveils to the wonderment of all who comes to the ceremony on October 28, 1886.

Salvador Dali (1953): In a Goat-Drawn Carriage

Even by artistic standards, Salvador Dali remains one of the most fascinating and eccentric artists today. His imagination surpassed even his canvas and often spilled out into his life. While the rumors of him using goat feces as perfume cannot uphold, you can see him here enjoying a ride in a carriage drawn by a goat.

Diving Suit (1911): The Inventor

This photograph shows the incredibly creative and newly patented diving suit with the inventor Charles E. Macduffee standing proudly beside it. This diving suit is over five hundred and fifty pounds and it is an aluminum alloy. The weight of the suit made it perfect to sink the diver into the depths of the waters below. Macduffee’s suit helped break a new record in 1914 by reaching a depth of two hundred and twelve feet in the Long Island Sound.

Russia (1924): Game of Human Chess

There is nothing that could be more fun than gathering thirty-one of your closest friends for an afternoon of standing on squares and playing one of the most classic games known to man. Life-size human chess, as depicted in this aged photo, may not be as high stakes as it was in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but then again, this was Soviet Russia, so perhaps it was.

The Titanic (1912): Bon Voyage

This photograph is one of the last famous depictions of the ship before it met its infamous fate. It sank into the Atlantic Ocean, and the history books, on its maiden voyage on April 14, 1912. A shockwave of grief and horror reached the mainland as the news of the tragedy reached the mainland. However, even now, more than one hundred years later and seeing images such as this one, we know that our hearts will go on.

First Meeting (1919): Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin

In this delightful image, you can see what happens when the famed film actor and one of the world’s most prolific advocates for the mute, blind and deaf come together for a meeting. You can see Helen Keller as she reads Chaplin’s lips by touching his mouth gently. And, by all accounts, even she thought he was hilarious.

The Canals of Venice (1956): Clean-Up Time

Nearly everyone on this planet knows of Venice’s canals, but few wonder about how they are maintained or cleaned. In this photograph, you can see a portion of one of Venice’s canals cordoned off, drained and made sludge-free by the hard work of many laborers. This cleaning task is on a monumental scale and must have been back-breaking for those who did the work.

Marilyn Monroe (1956): The Seven Year Itch

One of the most widely recognized and iconic pictures to come out of twentieth-century pop culture is, and always will be, Marilyn Monroe standing on a New York City sidewalk grate trying to keep her white dress down. This picture shoots in promotion of her film The Seven Year Itch, by Billy Wilder.

Steven Spielberg (1975): Jaws

In this magical movie moment captured in time, you see director Steven Spielberg chilling out in the mouth of the mechanical shark used in the film, who they affectionately dubbed Bruce. Spielberg is only twenty-seven years old when he directs Jaws and the shark in this image is just one of the three full-scale models for the movie.

World War II (circa 1940): Smiling Russian Woman Soldier

Over eight hundred thousand women served in the Soviet Forces during the second world war. Most of them served in a medical capacity, but there were a few who made it to the combat zones as snipers and gunners, like the woman soldier shown in this image. While fighting Nazi’s must have been a terrifying ordeal, she seemed to take innate pleasure with her service.

Boston Marathon (1967): First Woman Runner

Katherine Switzer, in this image, ran hard and fast into the history books as the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. While officials and race organizers were chagrined at her audacity, she didn’t let them stop her and finished the race with a time of four hours and twenty minutes.

Montana (1901): Eligible Bachelors

Most turn of the century ladies were looking for a good, quality husband, and these Montana men were more than happy to offer up their services. While there is not much information available for this picture, you can imagine there were not too many eligible women in the vast wilderness of Montana during the early 1900s.

Giza (1870s): On the Road There

If you have ever seen any modern-day photographs of the Giza pyramids, what may be most striking about the image below is the lack of people. Giza did not become a popular tourist attraction until almost one hundred years after this picture. Now, the Great Pyramids receive millions of visitors year after year.

Phonograph Recording (1916): Mountain Chief

This amazing image captured Frances Densmore recording Mountain Chief, a leader of the Blackfoot tribe, with a phonograph in 1916. Densmore devoted her entire career to preserving the musical culture and traditions of Native Americans, like Mountain Chief through phonographic recordings. She was an enthusiastic ethnomusicologist and many of her recordings are still available to this day.

Disneyland (1961): Employee Cafeteria

There might be nothing better than sitting down and having lunch with Snow White and Goofy. After an entire year’s worth of construction, Disneyland, dubbed “the happiest place on earth” opened for business in 1955. Quite smartly, as the image shows, you can see no apples on the tray of Snow White.

Gettysburg (1913): The 50th Anniversary

In this powerful picture, veteran soldiers on both sides of the Mason Dixon line assembled and reconciled by joining hands on the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. President Woodrow Wilson attended the event along with fifty thousand soldiers involved in the war.

James Naismith (1890s): The Inventor of Basketball

James Naismith was a Canadian-American sports coach and physician. He developed the game of Basket Ball in 1891 while teaching physical education in Springfield, Massachusetts. The original game consisted of using peach baskets for the hoops and had just thirteen basic rules. In this delightful image, you can see him fine-tuning the game with a bit of practice and help from his wife, Maude.

Film Icons (1928): The MGM Lion

This photograph captured the photo shoot of the roaring lion seen at the beginning of every MGM film. While several lions use throughout the years, this particular lion’s name is Jackie and he appeares in some of the classic Tarzan movies.

World War I (circa 1915): When Bullets Collide

This amazing photograph captured two bullets that collided mid-air during The Battle of Gallipoli. The battle lasted over ten months and ultimately led to a few Allied countries retreating. It considers a defining moment of victory for the Turkish Army.

Zero Gravity (1958): Eighteen Claws

In a move that would not meet PETA standards today, scientists decided to use a cat to study the effects of weightlessness at zero gravity on animals. Captain Druey P. Parks piloted his F-94C jet to an altitude of 25,000 feet and released the cat to see what would happen. Parks denoted that the cat’s reaction was one of bewilderment, and that sentiment was captured very well in this photograph.

Testing (circa 1950s): The H Bomb

The United States detonated twenty-three nuclear devices at Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958. This astonishing picture shows the moment after an H bomb hit its target. The bombs test underwater, in the air and on the sea leaving the area inhabitable due to radioactivity.

Tourist at the White House (1981): Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar, known as the King of Cocaine, was estimated to have a net worth of over three billion dollars at the height of his career. This photograph, taken by his wife, is of him and his young son as they visited the White House in Washington DC.

La Tour Eiffel (1932): Painting in the Sky

Brave painters are shown here coating the Eiffel Tower with new paint. Since its construction, the tower has been repainted eighteen times with an estimated sixty tons of paint to complete the job each time. It takes twenty-five workers a full year to paint the tower.

Going for a Stroll (1938): Gas-Proofed

This photograph is in the same year that Germany occupies the Sudetenland. Bomb shelters and drills were commonplace in Britain’s larger cities, but one of the fewer known devices to reach the citizens was this gas-proofed stroller. Given this picture, it is no wonder the coffin-looking device never caught on to walk about British infants.

Skyscrapers (1934): Baby Cages

While the British council had the right idea that children needed access to fresh air and sunlight, this may not have been their best option. Thankfully, anyone with children or vertigo can breathe a sigh of relief as these baby cages did not stick around very long.

Audrey Hepburn (1958): Pippin

This heartwarming picture shows Audrey Hepburn perusing a bit of goods while out shopping with her pet deer, Pippin. Pippin and Hepburn met while filming Green Mansions. Pippin received lots of love from Audrey and was even allowed to snuggle with her at bedtime.

Stockholm (1890): The Telephone Tower

The Old Stockholm Tower was built in 1887 and connected more than five thousand telephone lines. This was before telephone lines were buried, which started in 1913. The tower was damaged by a fire in 1952 and demolished a year later. But, this picture of it still proves it stood in all of its monstrous glory at one time.

Journey to Space (1957): The First Animal

Laika, depicted here, was the first animal ever to travel to space. Laika was just a lowly stray in the streets of Moscow before becoming a cosmonaut. Unfortunately, Laika never returned to earth having died within just a few hours of departure. She is memorialized by a Moscow monument that still stands to this day.

Space Chimp (1961): Ham

Ham the Astrochimp, or better known as Ham the Chimp, was named after the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center in New Mexico. He was launched from Cape Canaveral on January 31, 1961. Fortunately, Ham came back just fine from his space travels with nothing more than a little bruising around his nose.

Swimsuits (1922): Your Measurements, Please

Authorities kept a pretty close eye on women wearing swimsuits in the early twentieth century. This photograph, taken at the Potomac, shows an official measuring the length of a woman’s swimsuit to see if it abides by the rules. Women were often arrested for immodesty if the swimsuit didn’t meet the dress code.

Military Tradition (1952): Must Be Air Force Graffiti

For those who are unfamiliar with this little known military tradition, this photograph captures U.S. Navy McDonnel’s plane and the tagging that was done to it after erroneously landing on the wrong aircraft carrier.

New in France (1950): Coca Cola

This image shows the trepidation on the faces of a few French patrons who tried Coca Cola for the first time after it was made officially available in France. While it was available in the country beforehand, it was never distributed by licensed vendors until the 1950s.

New to Norway (1905): Bananas

This image highlights the first time bananas were delivered to Norway. The load of boxes and crates weighed over three thousand kilograms. This tasty tropical fruit was made available for places like Norway through global trade.

Read All About it (1912): The Titanic Disaster

Edward John Parfett is forever captured selling newspapers detailing the harrowing fate of the Titanic. Parfett stood outside the offices of White Star Line in London to sell his newspapers the day after disaster struck. He was fifteen years old at the time.

Elvis Presley (1958): Before He Was King

In March of 1958, Elvis Presley joined the United States Army. He was discharged from the Army in 1960 and completed an eighteen-month tour in Germany during his military life.

Prohibition (circa 1920s): A Tower of Barrels

Prohibition was a failed experiment in United States history. Between 1920 and 1933, authorities often confiscated barrel after barrel of alcohol and assembled them in large towers as shown in this photograph. They would then light the tower on fire to dispose of the illicit goods.

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