i-9957df23460abcfd766ad04d14f041d6-Kareholm.png
Kåreholm manor on the Slätbaken inlet in Östergötland, home of my friends the Danielsson family.

In the 1950s there was a company (maybe several?) in Sweden whose business was to fly around rural areas and take aerial photographs of farms, mills, churches and small factories. Employees in pilot uniforms would then ride around in limousines and sell copies to the landowners. For an extra fee you could get yours hand-tinted by a pilot’s wife in the suburb next to Bromma airport.

The company didn’t sell the negatives, and for most sites they didn’t make a sale at all. So the company archives came to hold tens of thousands of aerial photographs of Swedish farms, most of which were never seen by anyone. But now the business has re-opened on the web. No limo this time: you just browse the site’s watermarked images and order copies of any photograph that catches your fancy. Invaluable for field archaeologists who need to know something about land use at the areal maximum of Swedish agriculture. Many of the fields in the pix are spruce plantations now.

Comments

  1. #1 Stacy L Mason
    July 8, 2009

    I’ve seen a similar picture, it was colorized, and heard a not dissimilar story associated with it here in the US, in NW Georgia.
    The story differs only in that the ones offering the pictures were simply pilots, though I wouldn’t vouch for perfect accuracy on that point.
    It may have been a company with a different shtick, “we’re entrepreneurs” having a bit more romantic appeal to American rural well-to-do’s.

  2. #2 Stacy L Mason
    July 8, 2009

    Didn’t read all of it before commenting, I’m wont to skim.

    I don’t recall any description of the means of transport of the salespeople or how they were dressed. Seems like a limo’ or pilots uniforms would have been mentioned. However the story was second or third-hand.

  3. #3 Nick Dvoracek
    July 8, 2009

    These types of business must have been a little more successful in the Midwest. My wife’s family has two such images hanging in the house. When her mother moved into an assisted living facility, the larger of the two was one of the things she took with her (a 16 x 20 in. color print- that couldn’t have been cheap in the 60’s). I don’t think it was because my father-in-law was an easy mark, he was a notorious skinflint.

  4. #4 Tobias
    July 8, 2009

    Nifty site. But I don’t think it will really take off until they publish an interactive map though.

  5. #5 Pär
    July 8, 2009

    This business was still alive and kicking, if not thriving, in the early eighties. No limos or pilots, however, but rather insipid door-to-door salesmen. I remember being in one of the photographs, looking at the plane through binoculars.

  6. #6 Mats
    July 10, 2009

    Nice! I found a couple of pictures of farms close to where I grew up in Värmland, but non of my parents’ or grandparents homes. It’s tricky to identify the places, since there is no information on each picture; you have to recognize the house and surroundings.

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