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Vintage Photos Lost In Time



A lot of incredibly fascinating photos have been forgotten in the vacuums of time, and although we’re still captivated by each enormous millstone in our lives and history, it’s easy to forget about them.
In the following gallery, we’re highlighting the most historic and life-altering moments that are often forgotten, many of which are very rare. Sit back and enjoy this walk through time!

Collided Bullets

The Battle of Gallipoli is considered to be one of the longest and most grueling battles during all of WWII — a skirmish that lasted for a full year. Over 800,000 men were involved in the battle, so you can imagine how many bullets were flying around at any given time. Eventually two bullets were bound to collide with each other mid-air.

H-Bomb Test

Operation Crossroads saw the testing of 23 nuclear weapons in 1946. Hydrogen bombs were tested on the coral reefs and underwater, an act that ultimately destroyed much of the natural habitat and made the entire island of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands uninhabitable due to the excessive amounts of radioactivity.

Florida Missile Crisis

Everyone within striking distance of Cuba was on edge during the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. Army was taking no chances, so they posted anti-aircraft Hawk missiles all over Florida’s Key West in the event that Cuba should strike.

The Gadget

While this looks like some sort of device that the mad scientist would build, this is actually the first atom bomb to be made following the construction and testing of the H-bomb on Hiroshima. Nicknamed “The Gadget,” it was the first official detonation of the infamous Manhattan Project.

The Disco Craze of the ‘70s

While roller skating was a huge fad of the 1930s, it made a big comeback during the ‘70s when disco became the rage. This photo shows a young woman taking some of the neighborhood boys for a ride around the block.

Bombing of Kobe

When Japan proved to be a devastating enemy during WWII, the U.S. retaliated by targeting civilian and military Japanese populations. Kobe had the sixth-largest population of any Japanese city, and so it saw a catastrophic bombing on March 16 and 17, 1945 — a sheer rainfall of bombs dealing lethal damage in spades.

Nagasaki, Before and After

This prominent Japanese city had received numerous small-scale bombings during the earlier years of WWII, but it wasn’t until August of 1945 that it saw the most devastating display of raw power. An estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people were killed — half instantly, half slowly — while the event vastly changed the topography of the city.

Dumping Alcohol, Prohibition

Many disgruntled Americans “suffered” greatly during the great Prohibition, an act which only increased the manufacturing of home brews. When police raided a bootlegger’s home and found their stash, their orders were to dump it on sight — even if they were on a second or third floor!

Children Preparing For an Emergency

Every school located in Allied countries were on constant alert during the duration of the war, and that included incessant drills. These very young children in a Liverpool, England, school were subject to these gas mask drills. The environment was tense….until they discovered that they could create fart noises simply by blowing hard enough through the mask!

The Reichserntedankfest Rally

Before the Nazi party became a force to be reckoned with, it was a slow-building movement that used rallies such as this to build stamina. This particular rally (translated to Thanksgiving Celebration of the Reich) was held in Bückeberg in 1934 and garnered a staggering crowd of about 700,000. The event marked a huge boost for morale amongst the movement.

Shackles of Slavery

King Leopold II of Belgium ruled over the Congo during his reign, and he used his colonial powers to utilize and abuse millions of slaves. It was an atrocious time in history for the Congolese people, and well into the 20th century slavery was still very much in force.

Horseback Target Practice, Circa 1935

While this may look like some sort of glitch in a video game, this is actually a German soldier trying to get a height advantage for some target practice. It was quite common at the time to condition horses to gunfire in preparation for actual combat.

Barrel Bonfire

The residents of Massachusetts went all out for 4th of July celebrations during the 1920s, especially those in Salem. The Gallows Hill bonfire was a much-anticipated event during this time, when barrels were wrapped in leather and then soaked in lanolin. Once the barrels were stacked upwards to 15 stories high and lit ablaze, the smoke could be seen for hundreds of miles.

Assassination on Television

History has been marked with men of influence being killed when others don’t agree with them, and post-WWII Japan was no exception. When a politician named Inejiro Asanuma advocated for a strict focus on socialism and declared his support for the Chinese Communist party, 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi took to the stage with a sword during a 1960 debate and cut him down where he stood.

Viewing the Nuclear Test

Residents of Nevada took a break from watching Gunsmoke and Gilligan’s Island for a few minutes to view the testing of the atom bomb in 1953. No doubt it was both an exhilarating and a terrifying experience to behold.

Buy a Baby?

While many thought that this photo showed babies being actually sold off, in reality it came from a French postcard that was designed to be strictly humorous in nature.

The Original Mt. Rushmore

Pictured here is Rushmore’s designer Gutzon Borglum working on a prototype of his famed monument — with just one slight difference. Originally, the monument was supposed to contain upper bodies for the faces depicted, but the projected ended up exhausting its funds. As such, we’re left with the uncompleted Mt. Rushmore project with just the heads.

America’s Final Execution

Public executions were commonplace in America up until the 1930s when more humane methods were used for the death sentence. The hanging of Rainey Bethea in 1936 was the last and final execution held in the U.S., though it ended up being a disappointment. When the sheriff who was supposed to pull the trigger for her showed up drunk, the task fell to his deputy: an underwhelming climax for those in attendance.

Tommy Lee Jones’ Football Career

Pictured here is Men In Black actor Tommy Lee Jones dressed in his football uniform during his high school days at St. Mark’s School in Texas.

Machu Picchu Captured for the First Time

While Machu Picchu is now a popular tourist attraction, at one point it had never been seen by anyone except the local Peruvians. When Yale University professor and explorer Hiram Bingham set off to find the lost Incan city of Vilcabamba in 1911, they stumbled across this other ancient city along the way. They had their camera with them and took what’s believed to be the first picture ever taken of it.

Attack of the Giant Grasshoppers

Experts have agreed that this image has been untouched by Photoshop, but historians have speculated that this very possibly could be a joke postcard from the ‘30s. There have been, however, sightings of enormously large creatures in the past, usually lurking somewhere in the darkest corners of African jungles, so I wouldn’t rule this one out completely.

Dear Hitler, Love Gandhi

Hitler and Gandhi were about as polar opposite as could be, which is exactly why the humanitarian wrote a letter to the dictator urging him to rethink his actions which would most definitely lead to a catastrophic war — “It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to a savage state. Must you pay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be?” he wrote. Clearly the letter had no effect.

Liberation of Buchenwald

The Buchenwald concentration camp was one of the largest camps built in Germany, with close to a quarter-million people held there. Nearly twice as many people perished there as in Dachau, so when the camp was finally liberated by Allied troops it was a sheer relief to those who survived. Pictured is a prisoner placing blame on a particularly cruel Nazi guard.

Graffitied Jet

The Navy may be strict, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a sense of humor. Whenever a jet would accidentally land on the wrong aircraft carrier, the men would make sure that the pilot was well aware of it!

The Duck Gun

This is no toy gun; it’s a fully-functional one that could fire about one pound of ammo. It was most commonly used for duck hunting and could kill upwards to 50 birds in one blow. They were eventually banned due to the drastic reduction in duck population that ensued following its introduction.

Boys of Class, Circa 1937

Even into the 1930s, many in Britain were still under the class system in which those who were in the upper-class had major afluence and lorded over those under them. This photo taken of a group of boys shows that major divide between the two social classes at the time.

Steve Carell in a High School Play

Even before he was an established actor, Steve Carell still knew how to play it up. This very rare picture is him at the age of 18 performing in a stage play at the Middlesex school he attended.

Morgan Freeman Getting Groovy

We all tend to think of Morgan Freeman as this calm, smooth, and wise person, but during the ‘70s he was just as groovy as everyone else. This picture was taken during an appearance on the television show The Electric Company.

Staged Firing Squad

Supposedly, this image depicts a German Communist being gunned down by the Free Corps. In reality, this was likely a staged picture taken either as propaganda for the Communist party or by a journalist — as evidenced by the fact that some of the soldiers are holding their guns incorrectly and that no firing squad would stand so close to a wall where bullets could ricochet.

Float (in the Pool) Like a Butterfly 1961

Widely considered to be the finest boxer in history, Muhammad Ali (known back then as Cassius Clay) was known for his unconventional training techniques. This particular photo shows one such method of practice on the bottom of a pool at the Sir John Hotel in Miami.

Human Chess Game

Though human chess games aren’t an entirely new concept, it certainly was back in 1924. At a time when Russia was focusing less on war and conflict, two Russian chess masters came up with this idea. Using members of the Soviet Union’s Red Army, the two exchanged moves over the phone.

5MB Hard Drive Circa 1956

Today, 16 GB is the standard with cell phones (though new models are now going for 32 GB) while most gaming platforms require a minimum of 500 GB. All of these hard drives are usually the size of your hand. In 1959, however — when you needed an entire room for a computer that had 1/100th of the processing power that cell phones have now — you needed a machine the height of a man just to store a simple 5 MB. That’s enough today for, like, ten low-resolution pictures.

Salvador Dali in a Goat-Drawn Carriage

The famed artist was known for his bizarre nature, and that certainly applies to his choice of transportation. I suppose that feeding a goat is cheaper than a full-sized horse, though! Plus you have the added benefit of not having to pay for milk.

Robert Wadlow, World’s Tallest Man

To this day, Robert Wadlow still holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s tallest man, towering at a staggering 8’11’’! Those aren’t his kids he’s standing next to, those are his siblings.

Henry Ford the Nazi?

Henry Ford did more than just make cars that would one day create a rivalry with Chevy pickup truck lovers. He did extensive business with Nazi Germany manufacturing war materials. In this rare image, he is accepting the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from high-ranking Nazi officials. Don’t worry, his relationship with the fascist party was strictly business.

JFK’s Funeral

Most photographs surrounding JFK’s funeral revolve around throngs of people surrounding the horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin, but this rare picture shows the private funeral that took place inside the Capitol Building.

Last Titanic Survivors

There were precious few lifeboats to leave the sinking Titanic in its last few hours. This image from 1912 shows one of the very last boats filled with traumatized survivors.

First Rockefeller Center Tree

Today, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree display is one of the most ornate and gorgeous presentations you can see during the holiday season. But in 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression, the display was about as abysmal as the times.

Disneyland, 1961

Before Disneyland costumes became elaborate suits with blinking eyes, the costumes were a bit more, well, primitive. It didn’t prohibit the kids from having the time of their life, though, at the most magical place on earth.

Hey, Coca-Cola Man!

Before soda was available pretty much everywhere you went, people in 1909 couldn’t exactly purchase it readily. As such, they had to rely on a delivery system, much like how they would get their pre-freezer ice of pre-Publix milk.

NYC Parking

Before humanity invented the parking garage, the ever-bustling 1930 New York City had to resort to “parking stacking” to accommodate the growing number of automobiles.

Young Frank Sinatra’s Selfie, 1938

You might have assumed that the selfie is a modern invention, but the famous singer was far ahead of his time — about 70 years ahead!

Holocaust Victims’ Wedding Rings

The Jewish holocaust will always remain a haunting time in history, and this picture of wedding rings confiscated from the victims is just from the Buchenwald camp alone. The Nazis would take this jewelry and melt it all down to create statues and relics honoring the Nazi regime.

“Back When I Went To School….”

We’ve all heard our parents’ and grandparents’ griping about the death-defying maneuvers and near-death experiences they had to endure just to get to school, but for these Italian children in 1959 the overblown stories are actually true!

Reactions to the Challenger’s Fateful Demise

Before 9-11 rocked our nation, the 1986 mid-flight explosion of the Challenger space shuttle was the closest thing Americans had to that feeling of horror and dread. This picture, snapped seconds after the explosion, perfectly captures that internal panic.

Switching Sides

Prior to 1967, Sweden drove on the left side of the road (just as Europeans still do). When driving rules changed and the road was switched around, Swedes had a pretty difficult time essentially reversing what their brains had been trained to do their entire lives.

One-Wheeled Motorcycle

Americans have always been known for being inventive, but this perhaps takes the cake. You could say he probably saved money on buying tires, but on the other hand you’d be hard-pressed to find a tire that size at your local mercantile.

Big Brother Is Listening

Soviet Russia was famous at the time for their advanced tactical equipment and technology, but these listening devices for detecting enemy airplanes were likely the result of a few too many glasses of vodka. Either that or they were just trying to invent the world’s first pair of Mickey Mouse ears.

White House Renovation, 1950

The White House is a grand old home that has beauty in both its design and purpose, but it wasn’t always that way. After 150 years, President Truman decided it was about time it got a facelift.

Watch Out for the Paparazzi

The paparazzi weren’t quite so devious back in the day (and probably would have asked you to pose for one picture instead of snapping 1,000 pictures in your face) — though they still carried ladders with them, probably so they could ascend a tree to get those rare shots!

Jumbo’s Death

Jumbo the Circus Elephant delighted children of all ages with his special antics until his untimely death in 1885 when the poor creature was struck down by a train. Before they removed the body, his circus family posed next to it — still sitting on the tracks where it had been killed.

Moon Suit

If you think this is a scene from some 1950s outer space movie, think again. This is actually NASA engineer Allyn B. Hazard testing out a suit for walking on the moon a decade before Neil Armstrong set foot on it. Thankfully there were some modifications made to the suit before that happened!

Flying Automotive Circa 1940

Apparently history books have it all wrong: the Wright brothers weren’t the first in manned flight. It was this guy with his flying tractor!

First Wal-Mart

Before Wal-Mart became a giant corporation, it was no bigger than a gas station convenience store. Why the name change, you might be wondering? It’s because it was owned by a man named Sam Walton (hence Wal-Mart’s sister company Sam’s Club).

Hitler’s Bunker

There were a lot of messes to clean up following the end of WWII, physically and figuratively. When Allied soldiers came across Hitler’s very own bunker in 1945, they knew it was a piece of history — infamous though it may be — that needed to be recorded.

Mona Lisa Returns

When the famous Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, it was uncertain when she would be found and returned. It wouldn’t be returned to its home until almost 35 years later in 1945, just after the end of WWII.

First Atomic Bomb Test

1945 may have seen the end of the second World War, but it also saw the dawn of a new kind of warfare — one far more deadly. This photo was taken of the very first atom bomb test in New Mexico.

End of Prohibition

Those who claim that illegalizing guns and marijuana will reduce their use don’t know much about prohibition. This photo, taken in 1933, was the first time since the institution of the 18th amendment that Americans could drink freely and just be ‘Muricans.

Gandhi the Lawyer, 1893

We’re so used to seeing Mahatma Gandhi in his robes, but before he became the world’s greatest humanitarian he was a glorified attorney. He was also named Mohandas.

Gators and Tea

Anyone in their right mind today would tell you to stay well away from alligators, but apparently folks back in the 1930s were less cautious and far more nonchalant when it came to dining amongst 600-pound creatures!

Babe Ruth Duck Hunting Circa 1927

Even a seasoned athlete like Babe Ruth needed some recreational time off from baseball. Clearly nobody informed him how the whole operation works, though!

JFK Assassination, Alternate View

The video of JFK’s assassination has been one of the most viewed and dissected videos of all time, but this rare photo offers an alternative view of that infamous day.

Aghori Priest

The Aghori are a cult that deal with post-mortem rituals and pretty much anything else that directly or indirectly relates to death. This image of one of their priests shows just how much the rituals change their physical appearances.

Olive Oatman

Olive Oatman was a 13-year-old girl traveling west with her Mormon family when they were all killed by the Yavapai Indians. Rather than succumb to the same fate, Olive adopted their ways and become one of them.

Egyptian Belly Dancers

Ancient Egypt is known for a great many things, not the least of which was its exotic belly dancers. This woman is adorned in all of the jewelry that they wore at that time.

Proof of Giant Species?

When archaeologists uncovered this massive skull, they were completely dumbfounded. Was this proof of some sort of lost species that related to man? Or was it proof of giants that once roamed the earth?


This ancient Chinese tradition involves the art of “death by a thousand cuts.” It is intended to give the person a slow, lingering, and agonizing death.

Stripper on the Floor

Taken in the late 1970s, this stripper came into the Toronto Stock Exchange after a particularly grueling day to give the men a little entertainment before they went home to their wives and family.

Female Power, Vietnam

Women have been fighting in war long before Iraq and Afghanistan. This picture taken in the midst of the Vietnam War shows a band of sisters just after arriving.

The Horror Of The Electrical Chair

This unnamed man was awaiting his excruciating execution at New York’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The execution method was invented in 1881 by a New York dentist named Alfred P. Southwick. How does it work? Various cycles of electric currents run through the inmate’s body, causing fatal damage to the brain and other vital organs, while overstimulating the heart.

Melted Mannequins

Almost fell off your chair? These aren’t real people chopped and slayed into bits…they are melted and damaged mannequins after a fire. In 1925, Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London experienced an accidental fire, causing damages to both the building and the figures.

Comfort Women

The term “comfort women” meant young women and girls who were sold as sex slaves in Japanese-occupied territories before and during WWII. The name itself is a translation of the Japanese word “ianfu,” which means prostitute. How many of these women were forced into sex slavery? Roughly 410,000.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Mulholland, now 75, is an American civil rights activist and a Freedom Rider from Arlington, Virginia. In the 1960s, she started participating in sit-ins to protest how black people were treated, but being a white woman from the South, was severely misunderstood. She was branded as mentally ill, arrested, and even went up on death row in Parchman Penitentiary. She is now retired and has five sons.

The French Angel

This ogre-looking man was named Maurice Tillet. He was a French professional wrestler, known by his ring name as “The French Angel.” He made a name for himself in the early 1940s and died at age 50 from cardiovascular disease. There have been rumors that the ogre from Shrek was modeled and inspired by Tillet, whose massive head and giant features fit the mold perfectly.

Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya

This woman was a fearless Soviet tank driver who served during WWII. She was one of the first female tank drivers to be recognized as a Hero of the Soviet Union. This was the Soviet Union’s highest award for bravery in combat. The US National Public Radio featured a cartoon of her as one of the “rejected princesses” that Disney and other storytelling cooperations ignored.

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