Photographs have the power to tell a story with a much greater impact than mere words. They also provide a quick and interesting glimpse into the time they were taken. We have all seen the famous photograph, V-J Day in Times Square or the iconic portrait of Winston Churchill scowling over a lost cigar. But there are many others that although stunning, have been hiding in obscurity for a long time.

Bright Side collected 12 stunning yet lesser known photographs that are bound to astound you.

Gypsies using a bear as a masseur, 1946

Relocating a 7,600-ton apartment building using hydraulics, 1987

During the communist era in Romania, huge Soviet-style apartment buildings were everywhere. However, while planning a majestic boulevard in the city of Alba Iulia, authorities realized that one of those buildings got in their way. The solution? They split it in 2 and moved one of the halves to the other side of the road using rail tracks and wheels.

80 families stayed inside for the ride. The power and water remained connected.

A woman placed a glass of water on the edge of her balcony and it did not spill a drop during the move.

Acrobats balance on top of the Empire State Building, 1934

This photograph shows acrobats Jarley Smith, Jewell Waddek, and Jimmy Kerrigan performing a daredevil balancing act on a ledge of the Empire State Building in Manhattan on August 21, 1934. Click to watch the video.

Wedding photos of Marilyn Monroe’s first marriage when she was just 16, 1942

Hollywood’s original femme fatale Marilyn Monroe had her fair share of love affairs though none of them stuck around for long. By the time of her death at the age of 36 in 1962, she had already divorced 3 times. Her first husband was a Los Angeles police officer named James Dougherty. They began dating in January 1942 and were married in June of the same year, just 18 days after Marilyn celebrated her 16th birthday.

When Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor, 1941

Before he became the much loved 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was an actor in Hollywood appearing in more than 50 movies.

A computer defeats a reigning chess world champion for the first time, 1997

In the rematch between Garry Kasparov and the updated chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue, Deep Blue became the first computer system to defeat a reigning world champion in a match under standard chess tournament time controls.

Acoustic locator, 1914-1918

American troops used a newly-developed acoustic locator mounted on a wheeled platform. These later became obscure due to the development of radar in the 1940s.

A shot underwater, 1938

This photograph was shot by the American photographer Bruce Mozert. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of underwater photography.

Everyone in New York in 1939 wore a hat.

The only known photo of a living Quagga at the London Zoo, 1870

The Quagga was a zebra that lived in South Africa. It became extinct in the late 19th century. The name was derived from its call, which sounded like, “kwa-ha-ha.”

A human chess game in St.Petersburg (then Leningrad) in Russia, 1924

This unconventional chess match was played between 2 chess masters, Peter Romanovsky and Ilya Rabinovich. They called in their moves over the telephone and real-life chess pieces—human beings and horses— moved across a huge chessboard covering the Palace Square.

An uncomfortable looking Greta Garbo posing with MGM’s Leo the Lion, 1926

“Ham the Astrochimp”, the first Chimpanzee to be launched into space, 1961

He was launched into space on January 31, 1961, as part of America’s space program. Ham’s name is an acronym for the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico that prepared him for the launch.

Nikola Tesla in his laboratory sitting behind his “Magnifying Transmitter”, 1899

Queen Elizabeth’s wedding cake, 1947

Residents of West Berlin lift their children to show their grandparents who reside on the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall, 1961

Waiters serve lunch to steelworkers building the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in NYC, 1930

Pigeons fitted with cameras to take aerial photos, 1908

Which photo did you like the most? Let us know in the comments below.

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