Tornadoes: Old Black and White Photographs of Tornadoes

Originally posted by Jeremy Lemanski
B&W tornados are much scarier then the pics of today. Today the pics are of grace and beauty, but in yesteryear they looked so cold and heartless.

I totally agree with that!

When I first saw the Wizard of Oz, I was totally freaked out.

Of course that fear turned into obsessive curiosity. :lol:
Maybe because it is?

I brought the pictures into Paint Shop Pro, and you're right (I guess I can't post it here...?). The "Pakistan" tornado matches up exactly with the Hardtner tornado. Even that little crease at the bottom of the photo is still there.
my grandmother took some awesome B&W pictures of the 1957 downtown Dallas tornado. My grandparents owned a grocery store in downtown D at that time and it was literally right out their front door.

Really nice stove pipe and debris shots...especially considering they are over 47 years old.

I'll see if I can snap some digital images of the 9 pictures I have framed from that event.
KSU web site not accurate

I have a case of the "Doubting Thomas" about that KSU web site that showed the alleged Pakastan tornado photo. If you look thru all of the photos in the collection, you will see several photos with similar if not the same captions, several with wrong captions, etc. I would seriously doubt the accuracy of the caption details in this photo collection. This collection does not show the oldest tornado photograph ever recorded. I will have to do some research and find out when and where it was taken.

Edit: Did a quick search and found it:
It appears that a couple of the captions are messed up (like one where they listed the twin tornadoes as the San Luis Obispo firenado) - but I think the reason why you see similar captions in some cases is because there are multiple photos of the same event (like Austin TX 1922, St Joseph MO 1924, Cheyenne WY 1923). Even though not all the dates/places may be correct it does appear to me all of these pictures are of real tornadoes and storms, and all of these pictures appear to me to be at least 70 years old.

The 1884 South Dakota tornado picture was long believed to be the oldest photograph of a tornado, although a picture taken in Kansas earlier that year now has that distinction. But like many pictures of tornadoes taken in the late 19th and early 20th century, there seem to be some questions about their authenticity. That's what makes the KSU site so remarkable in my opinion - just about every single picture on that page appears to be unaltered.
What impresses me is that some of these are actually accurate (or accurate so far as I know) because they appear in Significant Tornadoes — but that uses photos that are either taken before or after the ones here: e.g. the Norton, KS and Isabel, SD photos. Also, I didn't know that the Cheyenne, WY, Wamego, KS (the ones that show two in the shot; the second is mislabeled "San Luis Obispo, CA, April 7, 1926"), or Austin, TX photos were part of a series.

Most impressive of all, I think, is this: [Broken External Image]: . . . which may be more familiar in EXTREMELY retouched form as this: [Broken External Image]: It seems tha they've used original prints (or at least fairly early generation ones) here, which makes me wonder where they've all been obtained from, especially since they aren't all Kansas tornadoes so they mightn't just be things lying around the house that local people have brought in.