Skip to main content


Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
Scope Note: Refers to color photomechanical prints produced lithographically from photographic negatives. The technique was developed in the 1890s in Switzerland by Art Institute Orell F├╝ssli, also known as Photoglob Zurich. The technique was introduced at the World Exposition in Paris in 1898 and it was used until ca. 1930s. The technique was one of the more successful attempts preceding color photography to produce color images; indeed, photochroms looks deceptively like color photographs unless viewed with a magnifying glass. A black and white image served as the base and a form of photolithography with as many as sixteen colors was used to make the final image. Photochroms are distinguished from chromolithographs by their hard clear coating. The patented process was licensed to firms in England and America; most photochroms are scenic views of the American West, Europe, and the Middle East. William Henry Jackson and the Detroit Publishing Company were responsible for a large number of photochroms. Captions are often in gold lettering, on the lower portion of the recto, identifying the view and sometimes the maker. The process was labor intensive and time consuming and was replaced by faster and easier techniques.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Detroit Publishing Company photochrom prints

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC114

The collection consists of 766 photochroms depicting various locations and landmarks in the North America, dating primarily from 1898 to 1908 with the bulk falling between 1898 and 1902.

Dates: 1898-1908; Majority of material found in dates 1898-1902