Imperial Russia- Pre 1917

Self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, ca. 1910.

Self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, ca. 1910.

Given how many historical photos are video are shot in black and white, many of us can forget that the past was also in full color – we just don’t get to see it. However, these photos of Russia in the beginning of the 20th century by photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky give us a rare glimpse into the past in full and glorious color.

Color photography, in the way that we understand it, was not possible at the time, but it was possible to create a color image for the viewer by completing three separate photographs. Prokudin-Gorsky had to take three separate photographs of the same subject – once with a red filter over the lens, once with a green filter, and once with a blue filter (red, green, blue – RGB – is a set of color channels used by many digital images as well). Later on, these three monochromatic images would be projected through filters of those same colors onto a screen and superimposed. When viewed through a final filter, they would appear as a realistic color image to the viewer.

A trained chemist and artist, Prokudin-Gorsky began creating tricolor photos after studying with German photochemistry professor Adolf Miethe. Tsar Nicholas II was so impressed by Prokudin-Gorsky’s work, including his famous portrait of Leo Tolstoy, that he commissioned the photographer to take pictures all over Russia. Though he fled Russia after the October Revolution, the negatives he took with him that weren’t confiscated were eventually purchased by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1948 and published in 1980.

Sart woman in purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, ca. 1910. Until the Russian revolution of 1917, “Sart” was the name for Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan

Sart woman in purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, ca. 1910. Until the Russian revolution of 1917, “Sart” was the name for Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan

Russian children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell tower near White Lake, in Russia, 1909

Russian children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell tower near White Lake, in Russia, 1909

Prokudin-Gorskii rides along on a handcar outside Petrozavodsk on the Murmansk railway along Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk in 1910

Prokudin-Gorskii rides along on a handcar outside Petrozavodsk on the Murmansk railway along Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk in 1910

Peasants harvesting hay in 1909. From the album “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire”

Peasants harvesting hay in 1909. From the album “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire”

On the Sim River, a shepherd boy. Photo taken in 1910, from the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire”

On the Sim River, a shepherd boy. Photo taken in 1910, from the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire”

General view of the Nikolaevskii Cathedral from southwest in Mozhaisk in 1911

General view of the Nikolaevskii Cathedral from southwest in Mozhaisk in 1911

General view of the wharf at Mezhevaya Utka, 1912

General view of the wharf at Mezhevaya Utka, 1912

Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, now a part of modern Uzbekistan), full-length portrait, seated outdoors, ca. 1910

Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, now a part of modern Uzbekistan), full-length portrait, seated outdoors, ca. 1910

Laying concrete for the dam’s sluice, 1912. Workers and supervisors amid preparations for pouring cement for sluice dam foundation across the Oka River near Beloomut

Laying concrete for the dam’s sluice, 1912. Workers and supervisors amid preparations for pouring cement for sluice dam foundation across the Oka River near Beloomut

Molding of an artistic casting (Kasli Iron Works), 1910.

Molding of an artistic casting (Kasli Iron Works), 1910.

Nomadic Kirghiz on the Golodnaia Steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, ca. 1910

Nomadic Kirghiz on the Golodnaia Steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, ca. 1910

General view of Artvin (now in Turkey) from the small town of Svet, ca. 1910

General view of Artvin (now in Turkey) from the small town of Svet, ca. 1910

Factory in Kyn, Russia, belonging to Count S.A. Stroganov, 1912

Factory in Kyn, Russia, belonging to Count S.A. Stroganov, 1912

Alternators made in Budapest, Hungary, in the power generating hall of a hydroelectric station in Iolotan (Eloten), Turkmenistan, on the Murghab River, ca. 1910

Alternators made in Budapest, Hungary, in the power generating hall of a hydroelectric station in Iolotan (Eloten), Turkmenistan, on the Murghab River, ca. 1910

A woman is seated in a calm spot on the Sim River, part of the Volga watershed in 1910

A woman is seated in a calm spot on the Sim River, part of the Volga watershed in 1910

An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey)

An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey)

A water-carrier in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910

A water-carrier in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910

A switch operator poses on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River in 1910

A switch operator poses on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River in 1910

A man and woman pose in Dagestan, ca. 1910

A man and woman pose in Dagestan, ca. 1910

A group of women in Dagestan, ca. 1910

A group of women in Dagestan, ca. 1910

A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, (in modern Uzbekistan), ca. 1910

A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, (in modern Uzbekistan), ca. 1910

A general view of Sukhumi, Abkhazia and its bay, seen sometime around 1910 from Cherniavskii Mountain

A general view of Sukhumi, Abkhazia and its bay, seen sometime around 1910 from Cherniavskii Mountain

A boy leans on a wooden gatepost in 1910. From the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire”

A boy leans on a wooden gatepost in 1910. From the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire”

A boy sits in the court of Tillia-Kari mosque in Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan, ca. 1910

A boy sits in the court of Tillia-Kari mosque in Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan, ca. 1910

A chapel sits on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, photographed in 1909

A chapel sits on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, photographed in 1909

A dog rests on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910. From the album “Views along the Murmansk Railway, Russian Empire”

A dog rests on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910. From the album “Views along the Murmansk Railway, Russian Empire”

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THE Vest…..

Soviet steel breastplate SN-42. Armor = 2mm. Weight = 3.5 kg

Soviet steel breastplate SN-42. Armor = 2mm. Weight = 3.5 kg

I ran across an old picture of bulletproof vest testing.  The guy in the vest is either really brave or…….well kind of insane in my opinion.  This spurred me on to take a look at the history of the projectile proof vest which naturally led to the history of fire arms.  I had absolutely no Idea that explosive projectiles have been around for more than a thousand years.  I have included some wiki below:

Early Modern era

In 1538, Francesco Maria della Rovere commissioned Filippo Negroli to create a bulletproof vest. In 1561, Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor is recorded as testing his armor against gun-fire. Similarly, in 1590 Sir Henry Lee expected his Greenwich armor to be “pistol proof”. Its actual effectiveness was controversial at the time.[2] The etymology of “bullet” and the adjective form of “proof” in the late 16th century would suggest that the term “bulletproof” originated shortly thereafter.

During the English Civil War Oliver Cromwell‘s Ironside cavalry were equipped with Capeline helmets and musket-proof cuirasses which consisted of two layers of armor plate (in later studies involving X-ray a third layer was discovered which was placed in between the outer and inner layer). The outer layer was designed to absorb the bullet’s energy and the thicker inner layer stopped further penetration. The armor would be left badly dented but still serviceable.[3] One of the first recorded descriptions of soft armor use was found in medieval Japan, with the armor having been manufactured from silk.[4]

Polish inventor Jan Szczepanik. On the photo - the first (and success) test of the invention (1901) done by Mr. Borzykowski

Polish inventor Jan Szczepanik. On the photo – the first (and success) test of the invention (1901) done by Mr. Borzykowski

Industrial era

One of the first commercially sold bulletproof armour was produced by a tailor in Dublin, Ireland in the 1840s. The Cork Examiner reported on his line of business in December 1847:[5]

The daily melancholy announcements of assassination that are now disgracing the country, and the murderers permitted to walk quietly away and defy the law, have induced me to get constructed a garment, shot and ball proof, so that every man can be protected, and enabled to return the fire of the assassin, and thus soon put a stop to the cowardly conduct which has deprived society of so many excellent and valuable lives, spreading terror and desolation through the country. I hope in a few days to have a specimen garment on view at my warerooms.

Another soft ballistic vest, Myeonje baegab, was invented in Joseon, Korea in the 1860s shortly after the French campaign against Korea. Heungseon Daewongun ordered development of bullet-proof armor because of increasing threats from Western armies. Kim Gi-Doo and Gang Yoon found that cotton could protect against bullets if 10 layers of cotton fabric were used. The vests were used in battle during the United States expedition to Korea, when the US Navy attacked Ganghwa Island in 1871. The US Navy captured one of the vests and took it to the US, where it was stored at the Smithsonian Museum until 2007. The vest has since been sent back to Korea and is currently on display to the public.[citation needed]

Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923

Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923

Simple ballistic armor was sometimes constructed by criminals. During the 1880s, a gang of Australian bushrangers led by Ned Kelly made basic armour from plough blades. By this time the Victorian Government had a reward for the capture of a member of the Kelly Gang at £8,000 (equivalent to $2 million Australian dollars in 2005). One of the stated aims of Kelly was the establishment of a Republic in North East Victoria. Each of the four Kelly gang members had fought a siege at a hotel clad in suits of armour made from the mouldboards of ploughs. The maker’s stamp (Lennon Number 2 Type) was found inside several of the plates. The men used the armour to cover their torsos, upper arms, and upper legs, and was worn with a helmet.

The suits were roughly made on a creek bed using a makeshift forge and a stringy-bark log as a muffled anvil. They had a mass of around 44 kg (96 lb), making the wearer a spectacular sight yet proved too unwieldy during a police raid at Glenrowan. Their armour deflected many hits with none penetrating, but eventually was of no use as the suits lacked protection for the legs and hands.

Ned Kelly armour, located at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia,

Ned Kelly armour, located at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia,

World War I german Infantrie Panzer, 1918

World War I german Infantrie Panzer, 1918

In 1881, Tombstone physician George E. Goodfellow noticed that a Faro dealer Luke Short who was shot was saved by his silk handkerchief in his breast pocket that prevented the bullet from penetrating.[6][7] In 1887, he wrote an article titled Impenetrability of Silk to Bullets[8] for the Southern California Practitioner documenting the first known instance of bulletproof fabric. He experimented with[9] silk vests resembling medieval gambesons, which used 18 to 30 layers of silk fabric to protect the wearers from penetration.

Fr. Kazimierz Żegleń used Goodfellow’s findings to develop a bulletproof vest made of silk fabric at the end of the 19th century, which could stop the relatively slow rounds from black powder handguns. The vests cost $800 USD each in 1914, a small fortune at the time the modern day equivalent of $18,710 USD. On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was wearing a silk bulletproof vest when he was attacked by a gun-wielding assassin. He was shot in the neck and the vest did not protect him.

Two American GIs wearing M1951 bullet-proof vests on Triangle Hill

Two American GIs wearing M1951 bullet-proof vests on Triangle Hill

Marines with Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, adjust Lance Cpl. Andrew Best’s Modular Tactical Vest

Marines with Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, adjust Lance Cpl. Andrew Best’s Modular Tactical Vest

A similar vest, made by Polish inventor Jan Szczepanik in 1901, saved the life of Alfonso XIII of Spain when he was shot by an attacker. By 1900, gangsters were wearing $800 silk vests to protect themselves.[10]

 

This all naturally led me to the history of firearms which I have included a bit of below:

The direct ancestor of the firearm is the fire lance, a black-powder–filled tube attached to the end of a spear and used as a flamethrower (not to be confused with the Byzantine flamethrower); shrapnel was sometimes placed in the barrel so that it would fly out together with the flames.[4][5] The earliest depiction of a gunpowder weapon is the illustration of a fire-lance on a mid-12th century silk banner from Dunhuang.[6] The De’an Shoucheng Lu, an account of the siege of De’an in 1132, records that Song forces used fire-lances against the Jurchens.[7]

old Chinese Hand Cannon on display at the Shaanxi history museum in Xi'An, China. The placard reads Bronze firearm, Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 ACE)

old Chinese Hand Cannon on display at the Shaanxi history museum in Xi’An, China. The placard reads Bronze firearm, Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 ACE)

In due course, the proportion of saltpeter in the propellant was increased to maximise its explosive power.[5] To better withstand that explosive power, the paper and bamboo of which fire-lance barrels were originally made came to be replaced by metal.[4] And to take full advantage of that power, the shrapnel came to be replaced by projectiles whose size and shape filled the barrel more closely.[5] With this, we have the three basic features of the gun: a barrel made of metal, high-nitrate gunpowder, and a projectile which totally occludes the muzzle so that the powder charge exerts its full potential in propellant effect.[8]

The earliest depiction of a gun is a sculpture from a cave in Sichuan dating to the 12th century of a figure carrying a vase-shaped bombard with flames and a cannonball coming out of it.[1][9] The oldest surviving gun, made of bronze, has been dated to 1288 because it was discovered at a site in modern-day Acheng District where the Yuan Shi records that battles were fought at that time; Li Ting, a military commander of Jurchen descent, led foot-soldiers armed with guns—including a Korean brigade—in battle to suppress the rebellion of the Christian Mongol prince Nayan.[10]

German grenade rifles from the 16th century (wheellock) and 18th century (flintlock) in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, München

German grenade rifles from the 16th century (wheellock) and 18th century (flintlock) in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, München

Guns - Safavid dynasty- Iran (Persia) - 17AD

Guns – Safavid dynasty- Iran (Persia) – 17AD

I know that firearms in our society today are a hot point in many conversations and social circles.  I create this post solely as a purpose of history to the devices.  I sincerely hope you enjoy, please be sure to let me know your thoughts 🙂

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Africans

Zulu Shampoo and Bug Removal in 1903

Zulu Shampoo and Bug Removal in 1903\

Africa is such a diverse continent.  There are so many different types of tribes, peoples, landscapes and animals.  I am sure I could easily create a whole blog for each category and never come close to exposing the richness of the dark continent!  I have included photos from various times depicting various scenes.  With Africa being a central part of WWII, the continent was deeply embroiled and forever changed by the conflict.  Be sure to let me know your favorite or most moving photo, I always appreciate the feedback.  My favorite is the 1903 Zulu Motor Cab, but I am most intrigued by the little boy standing inside the elephant leg, what an odd thing!

Zulu Land - Old Africa in 1903

Zulu Land – Old Africa in 1903

This man, Renty, was an African-born slave owned by B.F. Taylor from Columbia, South Carolina when this portrait was taken in 1850.

This man, Renty, was an African-born slave owned by B.F. Taylor from Columbia, South Carolina when this portrait was taken in 1850.

The Zulu Motor Cab in 1903 (1)

The Zulu Motor Cab in 1903 (1)

Teddy Roosevelt station subsequent to a passed elephant on his African Expedition, 1909-1910

Teddy Roosevelt station subsequent to a passed elephant on his African Expedition, 1909-1910

Explorers Martin and Osa Johnson with their craft “The Spirit of Africa and Borneo” confront Marut tribesmen while on Safari, circa 1935.

Explorers Martin and Osa Johnson with their craft “The Spirit of Africa and Borneo” confront Marut tribesmen while on Safari, circa 1935.

Kaffir Kraal  Zulu Land 1903 (7)

Kaffir Kraal Zulu Land 1903 (7)

Kraal in 1903 (8)

Kraal in 1903 (8)

Rickshaw runner 1903 (5)

Rickshaw runner 1903 (5)

Siera Leone

Siera Leone

British soldiers teach African natives how to operate a 3.7cm anti-aircraft gun

British soldiers teach African natives how to operate a 3.7cm anti-aircraft gun

Autochrome of an armed Swazi warrior, Cape Town, South Africa, 1930.

Autochrome of an armed Swazi warrior, Cape Town, South Africa, 1930.

Deutsch-Ostafrika, Askariboy im Elefantenfuss

Deutsch-Ostafrika, Askariboy im Elefantenfuss

A group of South West African Herero people, starving after fleeing from their German rulers, 1907.

A group of South West African Herero people, starving after fleeing from their German rulers, 1907.

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A More Spartan Life…..

Unidentified Farmhouse. It was taken between 1909 and 1923

Unidentified Farmhouse. It was taken between 1909 and 1923

The world we live in is so busy, sometimes I feel like there is no time to do any actual living.  My mind always takes me to an image of what i think life should be like.  These people all worked hard and they worked from sun up to sun down and then some.  They worked with their hands and their backs and their legs, using their minds at every turn.    Life was no breeze but it was not so busy and so utterly distracting!  Families worked together, day in and day out.  Life was probably more about survival and “getting by” than about wealth accumulation.

Woman Milking Cow. Another woman is feeding chickens. It was made in 1919

Woman Milking Cow. Another woman is feeding chickens. It was made in 1919

Walter Johnson. It was made 1938 March 13

Walter Johnson. It was made 1938 March 13

Sam Rice. It was taken in 1938 by Harris & Ewing.

Sam Rice. It was taken in 1938 by Harris & Ewing.

Boy Scouts Husking Corn. It was taken in 1917

Boy Scouts Husking Corn. It was taken in 1917

Chopping Wood. It was taken 1938 March 13

Chopping Wood. It was taken 1938 March 13

Mr. Johnson holding stalks of timothy. It was taken in 1916

Mr. Johnson holding stalks of timothy. It was taken in 1916

National Emergency War Gardens Com. Farmerettes. Women were encouraged to produce food for World War I. 1919

National Emergency War Gardens Com. Farmerettes. Women were encouraged to produce  for World War I. 1919

Girls Eating. It was created in 1919

Girls Eating. It was created in 1919

I just could not imagine how wonderful it would be to work with my children and my wife, all of us doing different tasks but with one common goal.  The way of life I envision is all but gone, there are still a few of us out there but not many!  I see a small family farm, self sustaining without the mind numbing hustle bustle of “the world” to drive wedges and cause discension in families!

Apache Woman Reaping and Gathering Wheat. It was made in 1906

Apache Woman Reaping and Gathering Wheat. It was made in 1906

Weighing Turkey at Dept. of Agric. Exp. Farm, Beltsville. It was taken 1937 or 1938

Weighing Turkey at Dept. of Agric. Exp. Farm, Beltsville. It was taken 1937 or 1938

Two men and a boy with a large pile of corn. It was made in between 1909 and 1932.

Two men and a boy with a large pile of corn. It was made in between 1909 and 1932.

Pomo Indian Woman Gathering Seeds. It was created in 1924

Pomo Indian Woman Gathering Seeds. It was created in 1924

Navajo Cornfields Cantildeon Del Muerto. It was made in 1906

Navajo Cornfields Cantildeon Del Muerto. It was made in 1906

Man Raising Chickens. It was created in 1938

Man Raising Chickens. It was created in 1938

Man Milking a Cow. It was made 1938

Man Milking a Cow. It was made 1938

Farmer Playing with Children. It was created 1938

Farmer Playing with Children. It was created 1938

1919  Eckles, Virginia. in Dutch Dairy-maid Costume

1919 Eckles, Virginia. in Dutch Dairy-maid Costume

At any rate, I wanted to share some awesome old photos of some of the hardest working people in history, please enjoy and leave a comment if you have the time 🙂

Child Soldiers of the American History

Child Soldiers of the Civil War

Throughout history children have often been used in war!  You can find examples of child soldiers from ancient roman times all the way through to present day Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.  Memories of the things that happen in war should not be a burden for children to bear!

“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.” – Charles Sumner

WWI At stadium reception to Italians

WWI At stadium reception to Italians

Colonel Brownrigg C.B. & the two Russian boys Alma ; Inkermann. It was made between 1855 and 1865

Colonel Brownrigg C.B. & the two Russian boys Alma ; Inkermann. It was made between 1855 and 1865

Group of Boy Scouts. It was taken in 1913

Group of Boy Scouts. It was taken in 1913

Junior National Guard Lincoln Shab. It was created in 1917

Junior National Guard Lincoln Shab. It was created in 1917

Powder monkey by gun of U.S.S. New Hampshire off Charleston, S.C.. It was made in 1864.

Powder monkey by gun of U.S.S. New Hampshire off Charleston, S.C.. It was made in 1864.

six or seven years old. His is wearing a uniform. It appears that he is a combat soldier, wearing a Colt Revolver. It was created between 1860 and 1865

six or seven years old. His is wearing a uniform. It appears that he is a combat soldier, wearing a Colt Revolver. It was created between 1860 and 1865

Dogs of War

A nurse and her rescue dog - circa 1930

Photo of a nurse and her rescue dog was snapped sometime between WWI and WWII.  Dogs were commonly used in war throughout history!

WWII

Belgium – 1915 hauling machine guns

Afghanistan

Vietnam