50 Surprising Photos From The Past That Show How Different Life Used To Be

These photographers may have never known the significance of the pictures they took and that millions would be marveling at them in the future. From thousands of images, I chose these to give us a rare and fascinating look at how different (and similar) life used to be. 

Thanks for visiting Distractify and I hope you enjoy.

The oldest known selfie. (1839)

Robert Cornelius took this photo outside the store his family owned. It became famous for being the first self portrait or as its commonly now known, a "selfie."

A "knocker-up" waking up clients - the early 20th century version of alarm clocks.

Nine kings gather to mourn the death of King Edward VII (1910).

This may very well be the most kings ever photographed at once. Represented are Norway, Bulgaria, Portugal, the German Empire, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, and Denmark.

Before automatic pinsetters were invented, "pin boys" worked to manually line them up. (1914).

An beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren't too short (1920s)

Suits were not allowed to end more than 6 inches above the knee.

This bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

A mildly terrifying 1920s full faced swimming mask designed to protect women from the sun.

How makers of the famous London Double-Decker buses proved they weren't a tipping hazard. (1933)

Baby cages for 1930s apartment families who wanted their children to get enough sunlight.

The iconic photo of a concerned pea-picker and mother of seven children during the Dust Bowl (1936)

The 1930's version of a GPS: This auto scrolling map was supposed to help people with directions in real time.

Afghan women at a public library during the 1950s.

The Afghanistan government was shifting towards democracy in the 1950s and 60s before the Taliban took over. Women could work, become educated, dress casually and use many of the modern day services that men could.

The Cat-Mew Machine. (1963)

This Japanese machine meows times per minute to scare away rats and mice. The eyes light up too. 

"The Kiss of Life". This iconic photo shows a utility worker receiving mouth-to-mouth after being electrocuted. He survived. (1967).

A young Osama Bin Laden with his family in Sweden during the 1970s. He is second from the right in a green shirt.

Although we did everything differently back then, these photos also show that deep down, raw human spirit never changes. Our compassion, ingenuity, curiosity, and perseverance as a species will always stand the test of time. 

We're a team of writers who love creating content for curious people like you. Check Distractify out daily for more mind blowing photo lists like this one!