Hi, this is Swivelchair.

Swivelchair - Logo (1)

I work in the biopharma area. Not a scientist, not a journalist, mostly in the business aspects. I have a science and business background, and have been involved in a variety of biotechnology-related ventures.

My other blog is “Neurological Correlates – A Neuroscience Tabloid of Dysfunctional Behavior ” (There is a companion video site, Psychoanalyst.tv, but that’s been a work in progress for like, 7 years. *sigh*.)

One of my hobbies is curating out-of-copyright scientific illustration, now that there are so many digital image databases on the web.


What is the best way to search the site with a word and get results as images?

Aye yi yi, we have a custom site-specific image searcher, but it’s funky (we’re working on it, the search results are presented in a weird format, must have lost some code somewhere because it used to work. . .): Search the Site page Actually, we gave up on the Google Image Search API mod, so. . . As you can see, searching the site has been a conundrum. We currently have a search box in the sidebar where you can put in a word (like, “cat”) and get the site results, most of which have images associated with it. It is not perfect, but it works for now.

Here are better other ways at the moment:

Use a site restricted Google Image search (site:Vintageprintable.com). This pulls up all the images, and may have some that have been moved or removed from the site, but still show up on the search. (So sorry for any “404′s”).

Are you looking for a black and white botanical? Here.

Are you looking for images that are predominantly pink? Here.

Looking for some lemons? Here.

Looking for a medieval dog performing urinanalysis on a sick kitten? Here.

Or, go to Google Image search and paste site:Vintageprintable.com

Here are more guided searches.

And, if you want to find other images visually similar to the ones here at Vintage Printable, you can paste the URL of an image into Google Image search and get visually similar images: Here’s an example

I need a high res image — do you have that?

Usually no.

Most of our images are sized to print from your home printer on letter size paper — some are a little smaller, some are a little bigger. Most of the images are between about 500MB to about 2MB or so. Usually our sources (academic digital libraries or other public sources) haven’t scanned large sized files. Remember, most of our images are from books — so the images should print about the same as they first appeared in the books.

We’re no expert, but some of our users report using image editing software to “res-up” the images. Alternatively, there are paid services where you can license hi-res images, as many ad agencies and others already do.

Any financial disclosures or other disclosures that may influence your content?

We are a free-with-ads model, and accept ads from networks. So far no one has given us any free stuff whatsoever, and frankly, we feel a little neglected, but, we choose to be anonymous and it’s hard to accept bribery when you don’t want the other person to know who you are. Our professional/social background does influence us in our selection, organization, descriptors and tags for the images. For instance, we don’t say “monkeys” but rather “non-human primates.” We also put religious images under the “Mythology” section. (See our “Images of Hell” collection.) In our other blog about neuroscience, we rail on and on about the financial services industry all the time, and some of that probably spills over to here.

Do you track users?

We use analytics to track usage, but not necessarily our individual users. We use Google Analytics, Sitemeter, our server stats, and the WordPress Jetpack stats. We can see in general the number of visitors, the number of pages per visit*, referring sites and search terms, and the IP address or the domain (like, “lausd.edu,” that kind of thing). Typical blog analytics stuff. We are not a shopping site, and, while we are interested as a general matter who our users are, we really don’t want the responsibility of handling the particulars. If you strongly object to having your IP address visible, we suggest you find ways to surf anonymously.

For a glimpse into our wonderful, talented, good-looking, popular user base, see our Press page. We feel very fortunate to be able to be a small part of this creative community, in our own way. It really does give us happiness to have taken such a left-turn from our ordinary line of work to see all the creativity that is out there.

* As to the number of pages per visit, we try to be reasonable. Our main focus is balancing convenience of having a whole bunch of images on one page versus overly-long page load time from having too many images. You can left click on the thumbnail to see the image directly in the jetpack image carousel (a slideshow type format). Or, right click on the thumbnail to go to the image attachment page directly without the slide show. We also have lots of navigational links. Enjoy, explore!

Do you have a button that I can put on my site?

Here you go

Vintage Printable Button 126x64

Does Vintage Printable claim any rights in the images here?


We don’t claim any rights in the individual works – public domain works can be copied freely. (Please see our disclaimer (below), as we believe the works here are public domain, but we rely on others for that determination — so you may want to check it out yourself.)

Also, we try to avoid brand names, celebrities and other images that could give rise to additional third party rights. From time to time we put up vintage photos and the like of long-ago newsworthy events that may include identifiable individuals, and these images are posted for historical and journalistic purposes, plus we think they are terrific.

Please understand that you do not have permission to wholesale copy major portions of this site, including organized collections of works. (We’re mostly talking about site scrapers and the like.) For example, works that were part of a single book now out of copyright are free to be copied, but from time to time we have selected those images and added to additional images for aesthetic and organizational purposes. If you are going to copy some of the works in bulk this way, please know that that copying is licensed under a non-commercial attribution license — thanks much. But, there is no permission to copy large portions of the site — sorry site scrapers.

We want to remain recognizable in our organization, our overall selection of images, and the way we use that little Tapir in our logo.

Vintage Printable by Vintage Printable is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, based on a work at Vintageprintable.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://vintageprintable.com/wordpress.

What's the manifesto?

Our position is generally that a scan of a 2-d public domain image — an exact copy — does not rise to the level of creativity required so that the electronic version gets a brand new copyright term.

We respect the rights associated with creative works (like, copyrights, rights to publicity, trademarks/trade dress, and other rights).

But, once a creative work is in the public domain, it is free to use by the public.

Public domain images by definition have no copyright restriction on use in the U.S. (We’re limiting our discussion to the US here.)

Nevertheless, as with any new technology that eliminates the middle man, there are vested interests in the old way of making money. There are some entities that would like to take really old, out of copyright two- dimensional works, take a photo (albeit, a professional photo), and then claim: “Gotcha. New copyright, pay me. ”

Our own view is that this is wrong: the whole point of copyright law is that it only lasts for a period of time, not forever. If copyright lasted forever, then there would be no dissemination of new ideas, because everyone would be frozen afraid to be sued (the “chilling effect”).

Plus copyright rewards creativity — not work. Mere duplication shouldn’t count as creativity. If copyright rewarded the amount of work, then a high-throughput scanner could be an author. Copyright rewards the tangible embodiment of creativity — even if you only wake up and do that creative thing in a fog for one second and then fall asleep or watch cute kitten videos all day long, as some at château Swivelchair are wont to do. You can be brilliantly creative and hardly work at all. This is what many people strive for and copyright protects that.

Think: would DaVinci be thrilled with the British libraries and other places that claim: “Gotcha! All the world has enjoyed your work for millenia, but now that we paid to hire a really good photographer who knows how to light it to take a really good photo and so we get to own the rights again! ”

This is wrong on so many levels.

Institutions do have an argument: “We spent good money digitizing these — like a zillion dollars! Now we should control who gets to print these out or copy these digitally!”

Our answer: If taxpayer money paid for (a) the original acquisition of the object; (b) the scanning/photography, as well as museum overhead, then shouldn’t the otherwise public domain scan belong to the public?

Here’s another argument: It’s private funds, from rich people.

Our Answer: Then give back any tax deductions you take. If you claim that private money gives you the right to make profit on the things you buy with it then to me that indicates you are not an non-profit institution. Just pay the back taxes and we’ll call it square. More than that, it’s usually private commingled with taxpayer money.

Our position is evolving as more and more digital libraries are permitting free public use of the images. So thank you digital media libraries who do this!

Disclaimer, waiver and general blanket no reps or warranties *sigh*

Vintage Printable can’t guarantee anything in life.

If anyone wants an image removed, please send e mail to swivelchairmedia [at] gmail.com.

Nothing here is to be considered a legal opinion, etc. You all know the drill. If you are going to sink big time money, or make life-altering decisions based on the images in this site or any other site,  one word: don’t.

Also *sigh* no representations or warranties about anything to anyone, including that the images actually are public domain or otherwise have no restrictions on use, or warranties of merchantability or any other kind of warranty. Each user is fully responsible for their own use of these images and recognizes Vintage Printable is not responsible in any way for anything.

We believe the images are not carriers of some awful virus or other plague of biblical proportions. *Sigh*. From time to time we make offerings to the gods of servers, databases, security certificates and general sysadmins, and lo, the back end gods are mostly merciful toward us.  (Our free-with-ads model provides us with such tithes. )

Of course we can’t guarantee anything, or give any kind of legal, copyright or advice about your life in general, so if you are at all concerned, find your trusted adviser and ask them. Images we collect from public sources are tagged with meta information or other information for description, indexing and being picked up by the search engines. We may clean them up a little, and we certainly don’t claim any kind of rights in that at all.