19th Century Illustrations of African Wildlife

19th century color illustration of a rhinoceros in Africa

It’s Saturday! And I’m ready to spend some much-need quality time in the public domain.

So I was reading up on Africa’s animals and ecology and fell down another rabbit hole.

I whipped up this post from my pile of vintage scraps at home, an African scenery book from 1804, and a vintage zoological journal. These images span early to mid-late 19th century, putting them in the public domain.

Of my scraps, several are originally from old cigarette boxes and advertisements for everyday objects.

5 Awesome Projects You Can Do with Free Safari Illustrations

The holidays are right around the corner, so now’s a good time to start brainstorming DIY gifts, make-your-own school 19th century zebra from vintage advertisement - public domainsupplies, greeting cards, gifts for crafters, and a whole host of fun stuff.

Animal Alphabet Flashcards

Print-Your-Own Animal Wrapping Paper

DIY Safari Greeting Cards for Birthday Parties 

Hidden Picture Games and Artwork

DIY Shrinky Dinks!

 

19th century vintage print of a zebra study - public domain

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Zebras

  • There are three species of zebra: Burchell’s zebra (also know as a plains zebra), Grevy’s zebra, and the Equus zebra.
  • So why do zebras have stripes? There have been several theories, but recent studies reveal that stripes may have evolved to keep zebras cool.
  • Zebras will often socialize with antelope herds for protection.
  • Like your fingerprints, no two zebras will have the same stripes.
  • Each zebra species has their own stripe patterns, varying in width. Zebras that live on the southern plains have stripes that are further apart.

Get 15 more fascinating facts on zebras from the Mother Nature Network!

19th century color illustration of African scenery with elephants - public domain

More Free Resources About African Animals and Ecology

19th century vintage illustration of leopard - public domain

The web is packed with free resources on African animals, ecology, environment, safari, and more. Bookmark the following for your next project.

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Antique Summer: Vintage Illustrations of Fresh Strawberries

I’m officially obsessed with summer now. Since yesterday, I’ve been on a quest to find and edit classic vintage images for your summer projects. I’m really lucky that so many awesome turn-of-the-century gardening catalogs and magazines featured vibrant illustrations of strawberries on their covers! With that being said, I grabbed my favorite free imaging editing tool, Pixlr, and went to work. I was able to create more vintage strawberry clipart by simply cutting up and editing these old antique gardening publications.

They’re ideal for DIY invitations, greeting cards, thank you notes, printed fabric, Etsy, and decoupage for old furniture. For more creative ideas, check out these strawberry-inspired projects!

 

 

 

Antique Art Supplies and Vintage Color Charts

It’s almost summer! Time for pools, shorts, soft serve ice cream, and of course, creativity! Summer is the perfect time to finally start that novel, children’s book, animation, or video game.

One of my favorite things to do during summer is to paint outside with a simple canvas and easel. Feeling nostalgic, I went on what I thought would be an impossible hunt for free vintage illustrations of art supplies. But I lucked out and found this awesome antique art supply catalog from 1906 that’s packed with drawings of antique art pencils, inks, chalks, art sets, and vibrant color charts. I went through the catalog and picked out my favorites, then I brightened them up a bit with Pixlr.

Incorporate them into your next collage or find inspiration for hidden object video games, greeting cards for artists, Etsy products, and more!

Did You Know?

  • Pencil “lead” is actually graphite. The term originated from the Greek word, graphein, which means “to write!”
  • The actual origin of pencils themselves can be traced back to mid-1500s England. There, a large graphite deposit was discovered which lead to the creation of the pencil we commonly use today. Drawing pencils started to grow in popularity during the 17th century.
  • Many scholars believe that the first easels were actually used by ancient Egyptians!
  • One of the earliest known art supplies is the classic paintbrush. Anthropologists discovered proof of paint brush use in paleolithic caves in Europe.
  • Archaeologists revealed that oil paints were used in Afghanistan as far back as the 7th century!

 

Antique Scientific Illustrations of Early Electronic Medical Equipment

This is a free vintage scientific illustration of a medical galvanometerAn early fascination with antique scientific illustrations helped inspire me to get into digital curation and archiving. These historic illustrations offer us a fascinating look into how science and medicine were practiced and understood in the 19th century. So much has changed, and it’s exciting to look back at how far science and medicine has evolved since the mid-1800s.

These particular antique images represent the early electronic machines and equipment used in hospitals in the 1860s. Selected from a medical equipment catalog published in 1868, the following scientific illustrations feature an old fashioned galvanometer, single-coil medical instruments, compound magnetic instruments, and magneto-electric machines.

So what they heck are these?

Apparently Galvanometers were used to detect electrical currents. This machine featured a single-coil construction, and when an electric current passed through the coil, it would trigger the pointer to move. Doctors would also use compound magnetic instruments to treat conditions related to the nervous system too.

Today, these vintage medical illustrations reside in the public domain and can be used for a wide variety of creative projects. Add them to your blog, email newsletters, online history lessons, and social media posts, or create unique invitations, greeting cards, and other printed products.

 

Geektastic Gifts Featuring Scientific Medical Illustrations

 

Human Anatomy Skeletons by Leondardo da Vinci 20 Oz Large Ceramic Coffee Mug    Vintage 1800s Heart Retro Cardiac Anatomy Hearts Adult Apron   antique medical instruments greeting card

Vintage Images for Mothers Day: Antique Rose Illustrations in the Public Domain

This is a free antique image of blue lace and roses for Mothers DayRoses are a Mothers Day classic! For this post, I sifted through the Library of Congress online and stumbled upon some really great vintage images from the 19th century, and I used Pixlr to clean them up a bit. For a quick and easy Mothers Day card, just print one out and you’re good to go! I personally love the light teal lace image because it brings a textured look to a greeting card.

Try using these free antique images to create napkins, invitations, greeting cards, decor, and other printed products for Mothers Day, weddings, engagement parties, bridal showers, or vintage themed birthdays. For more creative inspiration, I scoured the internet to find some truly clever and creative tutorials for rose-themed Mothers Day crafting too.

Rose Inspired Mothers Day Crafts

Vintage Pretty Chic Floral Rose Garden Collage Throw Pillow

Vintage Rose Pillow

Easy DIY Paper Roses

Paper Bouquet for Mothers Day

Origami Mothers Day Rose

Tye-Dye Roses for Mothers Day

DIY Chocolate Roses for Mom

Rose Petal and Salt Dough Crafts

Mothers Day Rose Corsage

 

 

Free Vintage Illustrations for St. Patrick’s Day: Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potatoes

There’s another crafty holiday on the horizon! With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I’m reminded of when my grandma would make corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes for dinner. I went on an epic search and found some great clippings from vintage catalogs, seed advertisements, antique trading cards, and magazines and cleaned them up a bit with Pixlr. Feel free to include them in your St. Patrick’s day blog posts, school projects, art projects, and Etsy gifts, or pair these illustrations with some of my previous posts about food to create a detailed collage. This post also got me thinking about the history of this traditional Irish meal, and I learned some things that I did not expect. Find out below!

Fun Facts about Corned Beef and Cabbage!

  • Pork was actually the meat of choice for Irish immigrants first immigrating to America, specifically smoked pork loin. It was cheap to get in Ireland, but not so much in the United States. Therefore, people got creative and started cooking beef. Irish immigrants were inspired to make corned beef after visiting the markets of Jewish Immigrants in New York City. Their corned beef had a similar taste and cured preparation to the popular Irish cut smoked pork back home.
  • The addition of cabbage was new. Irish families discovered that adding cabbage to a salty corned beef stew made a hearty and delicious meal that was also cost effective.
  • This meal eventually became a popular meal in American households across the country. In fact, it was even served at President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration!

 

These images were curated and edited from archived vintage publications and advertisements in the public domain. You are free to use these images in your personal, commercial, and educational work without permission. A link back to FreeVintageIllustrations.com is required if you share these images anywhere online. 

 

 

Free Vintage Illustrations of Ice Cream Treats from a 1922 Trade Journal

Who wants ice cream for breakfast? I do! I found an old vintage Ice Cream trade journal from 1922, and it was packed with awesome antique advertisements for commercial Ice Cream Makers, advertising services for Ice Cream distributors, and various Ice Cream brands, flavors, sundaes, and cones. There were like 3 Neapolitan bar ads! Needless to say, I ran away with a fun, colorful collection of free vintage illustrations to share. I know it’s chilly in December, but I can never turn by back on ice cream. Ever. These vintage ice cream illustrations and advertisements can also be used to make unique ornaments for a cool ice cream themed Christmas tree, t-shirt designs, DIY bag designs, digital flyers, Etsy gifts, and more creative projects.

Vintage illustrations come with a story. Curious about the vintage ice cream industry and other facts about your favorite dessert? Learn more interesting facts and history below!

Ice Cream History and Facts

  • Catherine Medici, of Italy’s famous Medici’s of the Renaissance, is often credited with introducing ice cream to French culture when she married Henri II. Though the claim is not documented.
  • American Ice Cream origins are often credited to Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson for allegedly bringing Ice Cream from France to the U.S., and even former first lady, Dolly Madison.
  • The ancient Romans mixed crushed ice with berries
  • Many scholars believe that ice cream was most likely invented in China. There are even accounts of frozen milk as early as the 7th century! There are also additional written accounts of ice cream being served at a royal court function in the 14th century.
  • Word about ice cream might have spread through China, to the Middle East, and eventually to Italy. However, many scholars believe that the practice of freezing food itself was more likely spread from china than ice cream itself.
  • The earliest written accounts of ice cream in English culture comes from a 1671 account of a banquet with King Charles II.
  • English cuisine officially introduced ice cream and ice cream recipes around 1718
  • Ice cream hit the United States in the early 1700s, with accounts of ice cream being made and served amongst the colonies.
  • Early ice cream makers in the early 18th century were referred to as a cream machine for ice.