Trivia

Hard

The World’s Oldest Surviving Aerial Photograph Captures What City?

Boston
New York City
Paris
London
James Wallace Black's urban aerial photograph showing a section of Boston in 1860.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Answer: Boston

In 1860, photographer James Wallace Black hauled his gear into the basket of a hot air balloon and set sail over the city of Boston. Although Black wasn’t the first to combine the lofty elevation of a hot air balloon and a camera (that distinction belongs to the Frenchman Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, who snapped a photo from a balloon two years earlier in 1858), his photograph is the earliest surviving example of aerial photography.

Oliver Wendell Holmes described Black’s photograph in the July 1863 edition of the Atlantic Monthly as such:

Boston, as the eagle and wild goose see it, is a very different object from the same place as the solid citizen looks up at its eaves and chimneys. The Old South and Trinity Church are two landmarks not to be mistaken. Washington Street slants across the picture as a narrow cleft. Milk Street winds as if the old cowpath which gave it a name had been followed by the builders of its commercial palaces. Windows, chimneys, and skylights attract the eye in the central parts of the view, exquisitely defined, bewildering in numbers…. As a first attempt it is on the whole a remarkable success; but its greatest interest is in showing what we may hope to see accomplished in the same direction.

Despite more than a century of photographic developments since the work done by Tournachon and Black, we’ve never, if the popularity of satellite image services like Google Earth are any indicator, lost our love of seeing the same places as very different objects from a more bird-like vantage point.

Trivia

Very Hard

Star Wars Character Boba Fett Was First Revealed To The Public In A?

Trivia

Easy

Coffee Was Originally Decaffeinated Using What Toxic Chemical?

Trivia

Hard

The First TV Show To Be Broadcast With Dolby Surround Sound Was?

Trivia

Hard

The Bagheera Kiplingi Spider Is Unique Among Spiders Because Of Its?

Trivia

Hard

Before Star Trek, Multiple Cast Members Appeared On Another Space-Themed Show Called?

Trivia

Hard

A Pen Invented By Thomas Edison Is Still In Use Today For What Purpose?

Trivia

Easy

Which City Temporarily Changed Its Name To Promote A Video Game?

Trivia

Very Hard

Up To One Fifth Of The Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks In England Were Linked To?

Trivia

Hard

The Maximum Size Of Insect Species Is Limited By?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Actor Who Appears In Both The Star Trek Pilot And First Aired Episode Is?