Hand tinting in the 1940s?

With the popularity of Captain America and Agent Carter, I’m sure the urge to restore photographs from that decade is strong.  By this time in history, hand tinting was a thing of the past right?  I hate to burst your bubble but…


Moving stuff around in my room, I found these framed photos of my grandparents, and as you can see the one of my grandpa is colored.  Turns out photographs were sent away to studios so they could be hand colored.

The research I’ve done on this is photographers were going to ditch the whole hand tinting thing, but then WWII broke out.  They made thousands of dollars by tinting photos for ladies so they could send photos to their sweethearts, or soldiers who wanted to leave a color photo for their loved ones (or even a sweetheart).  See because in WWI there was autochrome, and by the 1940s that technique wasn’t as popular – not since Wizard of Oz was released into theaters back in the 1930s.

By the early 1950s hand tinting died out.  I have a hand tinted photograph of my aunt when she was three years old, and she was born in 1948.

So next time you’re searching for your photos to colorize, see if you can find 1940s hand tinted photos!

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