History’s Most Important ‘Firsts’ Photos (50 pics)

These old-timey photos offer us a window onto important events in human history. What made them extra special is that these are some of history’s most important “firsts!
 
1. The first photograph ever taken (1826), showing the view from the window at Le Gras, Burgundy, France, by exposing a bitumen-coated plate in a camera obscura for several hours on a windowsill. The photo was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

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Photo taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

Enhanced version of the photo:

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Photo taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

2. First Photograph of a Person, showing the view of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris by Louis Daguerre (1838)

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Wikimedia

3. Oldest Photograph of New York City, showing the Upper West Side (1848)

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Sotheby’s

4. First Self-Portrait Photograph, a self-portrait of Robert Cornelius in daguerreotype (1839)

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Library of Congress

5. First Photographic Hoax: “Self Portrait as a Drowned Man” by Hippolyte Bayard (1840)

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Hippolyte Bayard

6. Oldest Photograph of a US President, the photograph of President John Quincy Adams (1843)

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Smithsonian Institution

7. Oldest Aerial Photograph from October 13, 1860, showing Boston from 2,066 feet in the air

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

8. First photograph of people playing chess with Nicolaas Henneman (1841)

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allposters

9. First Photograph of an Amputation (April 18, 1847). Belgian surgeon Pedro Vander Linden amputated a leg of Sgt. Antonio Bustos during the Mexican-American War

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Wikimedia

10. First Photograph of Drinking (1844)

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

11. First News Photograph, and also believed to be the first photo of an arrest (1847)

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Three Lions/Getty Images

12. First Photograph to Illustrate a News Story: the Barricade in the Rue Saint Maur-Popincourt (June 26, 1848)

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Musée d’Orsay

13. The first color photograph ever (1861)

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Photograph by James Clerk Maxwell

14. First Photograph of Lightning (September 2, 1882)

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Photo taken by William Jennings

15. First Photograph of a Tornado near Garnett, Kansas (April 26, 1884)

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Kansas State Historical Society

16. First Photograph of the Moon taken by John W. Draper from his rooftop observatory at NYC (March 26, 1840)

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John W. Draper / Greenwich Village History

17. First Photograph of the Sun taken by Louis Fizeau and Leon Foucault (April 2, 1845)

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National Science Foundation, High Altitude Observatory

18. The Wright brothers’ first flight (1903)

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NASA

19. First photograph of a fatal plane crash (September 17, 1908)

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Wikimedia

20. First Photograph from Space showing a view of the Earth from a V-2 missile (October 24, 1946)

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White Sands Missile Range/Applied Physics Laboratory

21. The first photograph inside a hydrogen atom made with a quantum microscope

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FOM Institute AMOLF

22. First Photograph of the Separation Between Binary Stars, resolving the separation between binary stars with the Magellan Telescope

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University of Arizona

23. The earliest known photo of Abraham Lincoln (1840)

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24. The first public Jewish religious service in Germany held by American troops during the battle of Aachen (1944)

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25. LA Dodgers’ Glenn Burkes and Dusty Baker perform what it believed to be the first high-five (2 October, 1977)

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Wikipedia

26. Henry Ford poses on the first car he built: the Ford Quadricycle (1896)

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reddit

27. Hannah Stilley, born 1746, photographed in 1840. She’s the earliest born individual ever captured on camera.

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28. The world’s first underwater photo (1893)

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gallica.bnf.fr

29. Sally Halterman, the first woman granted a license to drive a motorcycle in Washington, D.C. (1937)

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30. The first known photograph of a Presidential inauguration taken in 1857 at the swearing in of James Buchanan.

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reddit

31. Louis Washkansky, recipient of the world’s first human heart transplant, in Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, three days after the surgery (6 December 1967)

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32. Minneapolis women lining up to vote for the first time in a presidential election (1920)

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reddit

33. The first and only picture taken from the surface of Venus (1982)

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imgur

34. The first team photo in baseball history (1858)

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imgur

35. Madam C.J. Walker, the first woman in America to become a millionaire by her own endeavors.

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reddit

36. The first bananas arrive in Norway (1905)

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37. Photographs of the first modern Olympic Games, Athens (1896)

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reddit

38. The first public showing of the bikini, Paris (1946)

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reddit

39. Otto Lilienthal becoming the first person to make a successful glider flight (1894)

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reddit

40. Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive going over the Niagara Falls in a barrel on her 63rd birthday (1901)

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reddit

41. Construction of the world’s first Ferris wheel for the Chicago world’s fair (1893)

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reddit

42. ENIAC, the world’s first computer (1940)

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reddit

43. Installing the first neon sign on the Las Vegas Strip (1941)

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reddit

44. Sputnik 1, the first satellite, being launched into orbit by the Soviet Union (1957)

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reddit

45. The first riders of New York City’s first subway (1904)

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46. Bertha Benz, with the help of her two sons, became the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance – 66 miles (5 August, 1888)

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47. Ruby Bridges becomes the first African American to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She was followed everywhere by US Marshals because of threats on her life (1960)

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48. The very first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree (1931)

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49. The first wheelie ever photographed (1936)

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50. Howard Carter and his assistants viewing the sarcophagus of Egyptian King Tutankhamen for the first time in thousands of years (3 January, 1924)

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