There are photos that will instantly transfix you and make it impossible for you to look away because of their beauty or elegance. However, there are also certain images that will do more than just that. The photographers behind these captured moments will give you a new way to look at history. Some of them are weird, some are funny, but others are downright unsettling. At any rate, you will definitely learn a thing or two about the world after seeing these old photos. Are you ready to check them out? We sure hope so!
Sophia Lauren And The Side-Eye
The gorgeous woman on the left is Sophia Lauren, who is seen sitting beside Jayne Mansfield. This photo was taken at her coming out party. People thought that she was displeased by the way Mansfield was stealing the show with her décolletage. A couple of years later, Lauren revealed that she feared that the dress her colleague was wearing would “blow.” Paramount pictures signed the Italian actress in 1957. The party was thrown at Beverly Hills Hotel in her honor!
Cages For Babies
In the past, moms used “baby cages” to keep their children occupied as they cleaned around the house. Of course, these things also came in handy when they simply needed a break. This thing was introduced in London during the 1880s but only came into fashion forty years after that. How horrifying is that?
Young Josef Stalin
We would say, “Na Zdorovie (cheers) comrade.” However, the truth is that Josef Stalin was one of the biggest mass murderers in history. The photo shows him at the age of 23 in 1901, so he still had more than two decades before he became the head of the Politburo. He extended the borders of his country, took Russia to the nuclear and industrial age, and defeated fascism. Sadly, he also killed hundreds of thousands of his people by going after enemies and collectivizing farming.
A Journalist In Disguise
Even though she is nothing short of gorgeous, you should watch out. This is an undercover journalist a few months before Gloria Steinem chronicled her Playboy bunny days in “A Bunny’s Tale.” In 1963, she was a cocktail waitress when Playboy had millions of subscribers. Back then, Heffner was writing monthly essays about “the Emancipation Proclamation of the sexual revolution.” We are glad that Steinem exposed the realities of his gentleman’s club.
The French Angel
Known as the French Angel, this man was a two-time world champion wrestler rumored to have inspired Shrek. Even though Dreamworks never confirmed this, there is a clear physical resemblance between the two. Born Maurice Tillet, this man had a hormone disorder that made his bones expand. This is evident in his feet, hands, and face. Dorian Leigh did not look like she was having a lot of fun in this photo!
Anne Frank Having Some Fun In The Sun
This is a photo of Margot and Anne Frank spending a day at the beach in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. The Wehrmacht invaded the country only three months before that. This photo was shot nearly two years before their family hid in the secret annex. “Will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” Anne wondered in her diary entry on August 1, 1944. Sadly, she was interned by the Nazis only three days after that. Even though she died in a concentration camp, her diary was eventually published and has since sold 30 million copies across 70 languages.
Abraham Lincoln Before And After The Civil War
If you check out the side by side comparisons of presidents starting their term and leaving the office, you will see that this position of power takes a huge toll. Abraham Lincoln had been 42 years old when the left photo was taken. He spent four years in office and only enjoyed 44 war-free days! The right photo shows him at the age of 45, but it looked like he aged two decades in only three years.
Right In The Boot
In this photo, we can see Ferdinand Porsche lifting the lid of a Volkswagen Beetle, much to the delight of Herman Goring and Adolf Hitler. He had been showing the political and military leaders a model of this national project. Did you know that “Volkswagen” actually means “people’s car”? In the ‘30s, Hitler worked with Porsche to make cars for the German people. The Beetle remains popular even to this day!
Testing A Bullet Proof Vest
It is important to test the effectiveness of an invention. However, we really think that they could have tested the first bullet proof vest in a different manner. This is simply too dangerous! Even so, this photo shows how Jan Szczepanik and Casimir Zeglen tried it out. This turned out to be a marketing success! Zeglen allegedly started working on it after the Mayor of Chicago was shot to death.
The OG Ronald McDonald
These days, most people imagine a cartoon clown when they think of Ronald McDonald. However, the guy in this photo was likelier to make us cry than to bring a smile to our face. Willard Scott was the man who played the original Ronald McDonald but was eventually fired thanks to his weight and lack of energy. The costume involved a paper cup nose, a styrofoam McDonald’s meal hat, and a cheeseburger belt. We now understand why some people have an irrational fear of clowns after seeing this.
The Wright Brothers
This is Orville Wright as he tries to get out of the plane after suffering a crash. You might be familiar with Wilbur, his brother. Orville lost a coin toss in December 1903, which is why Wilbur became the first person to fly! The photo was taken in 1911, although Orville Wright crashed the plane three years before that. While he ferried a passenger on a plane, a piece of the propeller fell off and caused the plane to crash. The accident killed Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, the first person to die in a plane crash.
Peeling Onions And Wearing Masks
They had gas masks and decided to use them to stop themselves from crying over onions. This photo was shot in 1941 during the Second World War! There were fewer chemical weapons used in the conflict, so it was not a problem to use the gas masks however they wanted. To be fair, it must be punishment enough to wear these masks in the heat of North Africa.
Swimsuits Were Banned
This lawman is not swinging the woman around because they are dancing. No, she is putting up a fight because he wants to throw her in jail! She and her pals were caught wearing “abbreviated swimsuits” that violated the modesty laws of the time. This was shot in Chicago in 1922. At the time, men could not take off their shirts at the beach in Atlantic City since they did not want “gorillas on our beaches.”
A Meteor Hit Her
This is a photograph of Ann Hodges. She is the only person known to have been hit by a meteorite! It is possible that others have suffered the same fate, but not many people survive something like that. She had been napping on the couch when a nine-pound rock hit her radio, ricocheted, and hit her side. Even though she had been unlucky, she still ended up more fortunate than others.
The Lovely Jane Fonda
Before Jane Fonda became known as ‘Hanoi Jane,” she was “living the good life” and was considered the fantasy of every American man. This photo shows her protesting the Vietnam war after visiting the Asian country. In the next couple of years, she became known as an advocate for Native Americans, Black Panthers, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. She was even arrested at five U.S. bases! She eventually apologized for her actions. However, we can’t deny that it was cool to see a pin-up girl turn into an activist.
Nikola Tesla And His Office
The genius Nikola Tesla found giant bolts of lightning to be soothing. These strands of electricity have a length of 22 feet! He looks fairly unbothered in this photo, but that might be because of the fact that it was used as a marketing ploy. His “magnifying transmitter” could produce millions of volts. Whoa.
Greeting The President Happy Birthday
It was pretty scandalous of Marilyn Monroe to “swing sweetly” to a man while he is sitting right beside his wife. The gorgeous actress stunned the viewers at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1963. We wonder how Jackie Kennedy reacted to the whole thing! It is said that she had “revenge” affairs of her own to get back at JFK! She was linked to men like Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, and Warren Beatty.
On The Set Of Goldfinger
Sean Connery looked right at home playing Jams Bond, all the while surrounded by lovely women. Did you know that he beat up five guys from the Edinburgh gang on his own? While working on Another Time, Another Place with Lana Turner, her boyfriend got jealous of the actor and tried to shoot him! Luckily, Connery was able to take the gun away before anything else could happen.
A Young Female Freedom Fighter
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a young freedom fighter who left her family, education, and life to join the protests. She challenged societal standards and free speech before it was accepted in the United States. She joined many civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins and even spent time in prison and death row! What a great young woman.
Smash Your Head In
If you think that this looks dumb, it might be because it truly is. The men behind him seem to be having a lot of fun here. This was one of the first football helmets ever made. Based on what we know of them, we are sure that he was losing brain cells quickly. We hope that he stopped doing this sooner than later.
No Use Crying Over Spilled Beer
There were plenty of things going on in this photo. This was taken in Detroit during the Prohibition era. Agents heard about a secret distillery, which then dumped the moonshine into the Boston Harbor in the hopes of preventing discovery. Prohibition was very unpopular in Michigan. There were 16,000 to 25,000 speakeasies in Detroit in 1928. Michigan was also the first state to ratify its repeal!
The Final Ride Of Bonnie And Clyde
We do not know about you, but there are other ways to go on a date than going out in a blaze of glory together. This famous American crime couple shows us the end of their adventures. They were killed when they were in their mid-20s. Before that, they terrorized banks, gas stations, and groceries. They also killed nine police officers at the very least.
The Last Photo Of The Fab Four
Who doesn’t love the Beatles? Sadly, this is actually the last known photo of them together. They looked happy when this was shot on August 2, 1969. They no longer saw eye to eye when it came to their careers, but it was also hard after the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. They stopped touring in 1966, but Epstein managed to bring the Fab Four together to work on various albums.
Testing Nuclear Artillery
While it was not the highest yield atomic bomb in existence, but the arms race was in high gear at the time. The United States developed a lot of low-yield, short-range nuclear weapons. However, this was the only one that it ever tested. The Upshot-Knothole Grable nuclear weapons test launched an 11-inch projectile that was in the air for 19 seconds on May 25, 1953. Upon its landing, it had a blast radius of 6.2 miles or so. The 15-kiloton bomb had around the same yield that Little Boy had in Hiroshima, but it was much smaller in size.
Watching The Challenger Explosion
Could you guess what led to those horrible reactions? The unthinkable took place on January 28, 1986. The Space Shuttle Challenger was only 73 seconds into its 10th flight when it fell apart and exploded in the sky. A NASA investigation revealed that the crew was probably alive for a couple of minutes after that and tried to regain control. Christa McAuliffe was a crew member. She was supposed to be the first American teacher in space after she won a contest with more than 11,000 applicants.
Looking At Stolen Art
This photo shows Generals Bradley, Eisenhower, and Patton taking in Nazi loot. These were some of the most famous paintings in the world! They were collected as the Nazis invaded most of Europe. They kept the works and displayed them in two museums created during the Second World War. The first one featured Aryan works, while works by Picasso and other famous artists were placed in a museum dedicated to “degenerative art.” But in the end, the latter saw four times the number of visitors than the other one!
The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln can be seen delivering the Gettysburg Address on the cemetery grounds of the fallen. In more than two minutes, he summed up the goals of the Constitution, the philosophy behind the Declaration of Independence, and the reason we fight. Sadly, his speech was poorly received. The crowd was already dazed from the heat after the previous speaker went on for more than two hours. No one clapped for Lincoln, and he reportedly said that “it fell on the audience like a wet blanket.”
Jesse Owens Won Gold
This photo was taken during the 1936 Olympics. Jesse Owens can be seen standing tall as he receives one of the four gold medals that he bagged! He destroyed the plans of the Nazi government to show off the alleged superiority of Aryan athletes. His performance during the Olympic Games is still considered one of the most amazing achievements in individual sports history. The crowd had been hostile to him, but he ended up setting new world records in various sports and tied the 100m dash world record.
John Quincy Adams
You are looking at none other than John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. His time in office had been so unremarkable that his achievements include becoming the first president to be photographed. He is the child of President John Adams and was the only third-party candidate to bag the presidency. It only happened since the two primary candidates wound up in a tie, so the House of Representatives chose him instead. The truth was that he only had 31% of the popular vote to his name.
Sukarno And Khrushchev
This photo shows Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev helping Indonesian President Sukarno light his cigarette. They seem chummy here because Sukarno managed to get rid of Western Imperialist oppression in his country after China and Russia steered him left. It all changed when communist forces staged a coup on September 30, 1965. He was ousted after that incident.
The Vietnam War Memorial
There is a good reason for the emotional reaction of “Doughboy Joe” in this photo. He was 86 years old when this was taken. He had been dressed in the uniform that he wore during his time as a World War I soldier. Joseph F. Ambrose showed up at the Vietnam Memorial in his full uniform in November 1982. He carried the flag that draped the coffin of his son, who died in the Korean War 30 years earlier.
Barrel Roll On The Niagara
Annie Edson Taylor shows us that you can be both stupid and brave at the same time. To be fair, she did make history for doing something amazing. Did you know that she was the first person to survive a 180-foot fall from Niagara Falls in a barrel? She was 63 years old when she and her cat made the legendary barrel roll. She somehow came out of it with nothing more than a scratch on the head!
Meet The Astrochimp
The first surviving American astronaut by the name of Ham. He was sent to space and successfully returned home. He was able to beat Yuri Gagarin by twelve days and Alan Shepard by nearly two months. However, he was not the first animal to go to space! That honor goes to Laika on the Sputnik II.
A Flying Cat
They say that “cats always land on their feet,” but gravity is at fault if this one does not. The Air Force and NASA extensively used monkeys, mice, and cats in their experiments during the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were used in high-velocity and high-altitude experiments to observe how organic matter reacted to blast off and space. The first American astronaut was a monkey, while the first Soviet one was a dog.
No More Prohibition
This photo was taken on December 5, 1933. Everyone was in good spirits and drinking to the end of the Prohibition era. The United States finally put an end to its 14-year alcohol prohibition. The booze then flowed in big cities like rivers! Sources said that the celebrations were a little subdued. Prohibition did not sober up the nation since speakeasies and saloons simply operated covertly. People like Lucky Luciano and Al Capone made a lot of money thanks to the liquor laws as well.
Easy Company Can Finally Relax
Easy Company, which was featured in HBO’s Band of Brothers received this order after they took Eagle’s Nest: “Stand fast.” This decorated combat unit wound up in Hitler’s house in the Alps during the last days of the war. Don’t worry, Hitler was not there since he had a fear of heights. Major Dick Winters is the guy right of center and led the 101st Airborne company through some of the most hard-fought battles of the war. He was a great leader who got his men to safety more than once.
Another Gettysburg Photo
Let us go back to the battlefield of Gettysburg once more. This photo, however, was taken in 1913 at the 50th anniversary of the battle. Union and Confederate soldiers displayed their respect for each other after participating in one of the most ferocious battles in the history of the country. Every year, the veterans took part in a reenactment. Confederate veterans recreated Picket’s Charge, while Union veterans surrendered to them. This was a well-received gesture since it paid tribute to these brave men.
Word War I Leaders
Check out this historical photo taken at the funeral of King Edward VII! King George V is in the middle, while Kaiser Wilhelm II is fourth from left. This was the last time that the two of them would meet in peace. There was already trouble simmering as tensions were flaring in Europe at the time. Assassinations led to the deaths of various monarchs, but the true catalyst of the Great War was the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914.