Bringing the past to life with colour


Novelty Vending Machines


Since smoking was banned in pubs, I haven’t seen any cigarette vending machines, but even before the ban, I never saw one like these from around 1930 that dispensed single cigarettes already lit. I don’t think they took off. They were probably too louche even for the 1930s.



whisky machine

Another decade that was supposedly debauched, and another vending machine that didn’t last long. This one dispensed whisky, with water or soda if required. The photo is from the second Automatic Vending Exhibition in London, in 1960.


lit-cigarette-vending-machine-1930-1347862050_bwhisky machine

Original B&W photos.



A scene from the 1954 Japanese science fiction kaiju (monster) film “Godzilla”.



Screencap kindly supplied by




Moa Hunt


Not a real moa, unfortunately, as moas probably died out early in the fifteenth century, though there have been claims of sightings since, unverified.

This is an early 20th century reconstruction of a moa hunt, in the Dunedin Public Gardens, New Zealand.

The reconstruction was the work of Augustus Hamilton, registrar at the Otago Museum at the time. He persuaded Peter Buck, Hēmi Papakura and Tūtere Wī Repa to pose as the hunters, then took this photo, which was reproduced at the 1906–7 Christchurch International Exhibition.

There was one mistake with the reconstruction. An analysis of moa vertebral articulation suggests that they probably carried their heads forward, more like a chicken than an ostrich.



Original B&W photo.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Into Thin Air

into thin air

A scene from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called “Into Thin Air” from 1955 with, from left to right, Patricia Hitchcock (daughter of Alfred), Mary Forbes and Maurice Marsac.

into thin air

Original B&W photo.

Marc Bolan

Mark Feld

Marc Feld in 1965, when he was 18, around the time he changed his name, first to Toby Tyler, then Marc Bolan.


Mark Feld

Original B&W photo.

George Mottershead

George Mottershead

Mary the chimpanzee in 1937 working on Chester Zoo’s new lion enclosure, ably assisted by the zoo’s founder, George Mottershead.

The story of the Mottershead family and the founding of Chester Zoo is the subject of a new television series on BBC 1.


George Mottershead

Original B&W photo.

Lillie Langtry

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Emilie Charlotte Le Breton, better known by her married name Lillie (or Lily in the USA) Langtry, in 1885.

Although she was a successful and popular actress, she is most famous for her affair with The Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (later Edward VII). By the time of this photo the affair was over, though he remained fond of her.



Original B&W photo.


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