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Flashback Archive "We try to come up with funky stuff that is full of surprises," says illustrations editor Susan Welchman, who picks the images each month for National Geographic's most popular feature. "They have to be light, related to the stories in the magazine, and, if possible, funny."
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In 1936 physicists at New York's Corning Glass Works absorbed themselves in perfecting the light-reflecting mirror disk for the Palomar Observatory.

Once a common, multifunctional furnishing in rural north China, the kang—a heated masonry platform that may have originated during the Han dynastyóalso served as a seat by day and a bed by night.

This woman in northeastern Brazil posed for a Geographic photographer with a 16-foot (5-meter) anaconda snakeskin doubling as a skirt.

Conviction and 20 spears ended a tigerís reign of terror upon a grieving Burmese village in 1922.

A portrait photographer's backdrop offers clients a patch of color in 1947 Warsaw, Poland, a city ravaged by the Nazis during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

New Yorkís wealthy paraded the rich manís favorite toy along Fifth Avenue in 1910.

Two stellar events competed for Muscovitesí attention on June 19, 1936: a total solar eclipse, and the death of beloved novelist and playwright Maksim Gorky.

Since 1881 residents of Margate City, New Jersey, and visitors alike have loved Lucy, six stories of innovative elephant edifice.

In 1917 a retired New York dentist sent National Geographic a group of photographs, including one of an Apache elder, made "in Arizona away back in 1879 & 80."

During a March 1938 excursion through the Louisiana swamp, guide J. J. Kuhn got a surprise when a young ivorybill woodpecker jumped from its nest, climbed the manís arm, plopped on his shoulder, and perched on his cap.

Woolly mammoth tusks were so plentiful in early 1900s Alaska that ancient ivory was often found jutting through the snow. But this tusk hunter probably had to do a little digging. In another shot, he stands between the tusks with a shovel.

Ignoring posted roadside warnings, globetrotting journalist Lowell Thomas crossed into the dangers of Afghanistan in 1922.