The potato is one of the least colorful of the good Lord’s creations. But somehow, two French inventors figured out how the dud spud could help put color in our photographs.
Before brothers Louis and Auguste Lumiere tinkered with taters, photographers were shooting three different pictures of the same scene through colored filters — red, blue and green — and then sandwiching the images for projection.
In 1904, the Lumieres pulverized potatoes into a starchy powder, which they then divided into three separate batches for dying violet-blue, green and orange-red. When mixed together and applied to a glass plate, the microscopic grains of potato filtered the light, creating a negative that could produce a color photo. The process was called Autochrome.