Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Detroit Publishing Co. Images

June 9, 2015

P.DPC.09127.A

From 1895 to 1924, the Detroit Publishing Company (DPC) created images that helped Americans see the world’s wonders from the comfort of their own homes. They used consumer desire for these images, coupled with determined sales tactics and the technical advantage of the Photochrom process that made lithographs look like color photographs (which did not yet exist), to sell up to 7 million prints annually at the company’s peak. As new technologies developed, DPC lost its competitive edge, and finally declared bankruptcy in 1924. The Henry Ford’s collection of DPC material includes 30,000 vintage photographic prints, 15,000 postcards, and 5,000 color and sepia lithographic prints. We’ve just digitized a representative sampling of these materials, based on selections made by former Curator of Photographs and Prints Cynthia Read Miller and others. The retouched photograph seen here can be compared to the unretouched version and the retouched and colorized version to gain an understanding of the DPC’s multistage process in preparing these images. If you’d like to browse more than 500 items from our DPC collection, including the vivid and visually arresting Photochroms, visit our digital collections.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

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