Way back in nineteen-aught-nine (1909)--ah those were the good old days--a Russian man by the name of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii developed a technique for taking color photographs with black and white film. The technique, which you can read more about at Damn Interesting involved taking three different photos using three different color filters; it's a pretty clever technique and was pretty revolutionary for the time. Tzar Nicky (Nicholas II) liked the color photos and when Sergei proposed documenting the Russian Empire in color photos, Nicky hopped right on board with financial support. In 1948, the US LOC bought all of Sergei's negatives from his heirs and in 1998 they used fancy digital imaging techniques to recompose the color images in fantastically high quality. The LOC has put a number of these restored images in an online gallery. Ah, good ol' Mother Russia, she sure did some keen stuff back in the day (he he, Sputnik).