"Louis Lumière had already invented instant photographic plates and the Cinematographe when, in late 1903, he and his brother Auguste patented a new process for producing colour photographs : the Autochrome.
Before the invention of the Autochrome, colours were separated using a complex three-colour process whereby three successive exposures had to be taken and then superimposed onto each other.
Louis Lumière, however, devised a method of filtering light by using a single three-colour screen made up of millions of grains of potato starch dyed in three different colours.
This mixture was then laid out on a varnished glass plate, which would be ready for use once it was coated in a black and white emulsion.
Developing the plate entailed applying the same process as was used for black and white photographs at the time, with the impression being processed to reversal.
Here are some examples:
"It looks like a painting by impressionist Edouard Manet, but it is a real color picture, made in 1914, by Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud, Commander of the Photography and Cinematography Section of the French Army.
When the Great War broke out, in 1914, French poilu's (common soldiers) still wore their Napoleontic uniforms with red trousers. They made perfect targets.
Here are some more:
World War I Photos
The Great War
See all Topics