Someone Colorized These Photos From The Roaring 20s And They’re Incredible

We live in a world where light from the sun reflects off objects allowing us to see colors. Capturing that magic is no easy task. Many animals see colors but in limited spectrums. It took humans a few years to figure out how to make cameras that could do the same.

Unfortunately for some historians, the best they could capture was a black and white image. It sure beat having to paint everything. Thankfully, Captain Science wasn’t too busy. She put these Roaring Twenties images to task, adding color where technology dropped the ball.

Now we can see the world in which these everyday people lived. Crazy that the people in these photos never got the chance to see them like this.

Tattoo Parlor

We like to think that tattoos on brawny young fellas are a new thing, but young dudes have been gettin’ inked since long before Justin Bieber. These old-timey Japanese-style tattoos are popular again in some circles of tattooing.

1920s Women

Women of the Roaring Twenties didn’t take no gruff. Advocates for women’s rights were nothing new, but the women of the 20s took feminism to a new level for the new century. They cut their hair short. They wore simple clothing. They drank and smoked. Not all women, of course, but the younger women of the 20s weren’t afraid to speak their mind to a man.


The life of a pilot is an exciting one. For this Royal Airforce pilot, taking the time to get a proper haircut meant a visit from the barber at work. Check out those boots. This could be one of the earliest examples of a man working the fashion runway. (Ha!)

Ford Model T

This pic is from 1923. The Model-T not only revolutionized the auto industry, which was a battle between steam, gas and even some electrical versions, Ford changed industrial practices in general with his assembly methods.


Washington D.C.: If you think crashing a car today is stressful, imagine what was going through the mind of this young driver. Hopefully, he is not driving Dad’s car. It’s gonna be hard explaining how he ran into a stationary fence.

Filling Station

Washington D.C.: This 1924 filling station was no Jiffy Lube. You can bet car servicing in the 20s meant you weren’t going anywhere for awhile. The colorizer had no way to know if the car was purple, but the plants were probably green and the suits gray. In any case, this image takes you there. You can feel that it’s a little too hot to be out in the sun wearing pants.

Albert Einstein

In the year 1921, the Nobel Committee awarded nobody the prize, holding out for specific criteria. In this image of Einstein taken in 1921, he didn’t know he’d won the Nobel Prize. Nobody did. When this picture was taken, he hadn’t yet made his contributions to science, not the ones for which they’d recognize him. They didn’t actually grant him the award until 1922, “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” 

Thumbing through these makes one wonder, what the future will do with our images? What will they do with these colorized black and white images? I’m sure future generations will have the chance to meet our heroes of the past in virtual worlds as if they were standing right there.