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Thread: What exactly have I got here?

  1. #1

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    What exactly have I got here?

    Today I was given a bag containing photographic emulsions - various.
    There are some glass plates wrapped in decaying black paper as well as these three boxes of ...........
    The boxes are unopened but in a sad state.
    The two larger are Kodak Super XX and the smaller is unknown Kodak ????.
    The larger are of full plate size and the smaller half plate.
    What is in the boxes - film? glass plates?
    Any help appreciated
    T

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  2. #2

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Parakeet cage liners

  3. #3

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Boxes say "Plates", so I'm guessing . . . . . plates?

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Perhaps the only practical use for these is to strip off the present emulsion and apply new emulsion. Some people still do this, much like it was done 150 years ago.

  5. #5

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Kodak changed its graphic design on the boxes in 1972, and that style was current from c.1940. Not that it makes any difference; the plates inside must be completely fogged by time (even if you had a camera and holders to take them), and the boxes are too crusty for a collector of Kodak ephemera (of which there are a few). Oh well.

  6. #6

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Yea, probably fogged by now, and the disintegrating box probably means that also the inner wrapping inside is also crumbling, so probably not clean, and box might have had moisture damage, so maybe inside too... I have unpacked several old gel filters (from the 50's???) that were very stuck to the packing liner...

    Back when flexible backed films were introduced in the 19th century, Eastman had a tough time convincing all pro photographers that it was OK to use the new film rather than what was considered superior glass plates, and as I understand, many still used these well into the 20th century, my guess for a portrait or commercial photographer as it was different to retouch (and old habits die hard, sometimes)... Astrophotographers continued to use them as they would not buckle during very long exposures, and images were on a stable backing...

    If you notice many early film holders, they would be made to hold a plate, but also have an adapter sheath to hold film so they could hold "traditional" plates, so inexpensive to try out the new films, but one could switch back... (Little did they know at the time what would happen to all of those nitrate backed films in the future...) :-0

    But if you do have any plate holders, why not give it a try at a very low EI, and see if the base fog is not too great... (You might be able to enlarge on them to make a positive, too...) Develop a plate in a tray with emulsion up... Might be able to scan if an image can be seen... Might have a "primitive" look (if any)... Maybe you can "doodle" on them with retouching leads if any image, or strip emulsion with hot water and bleach, re-coat with plain gelatin, then doodle or make an emulsion as a project...

    Steve K

  7. #7

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    I hear the "probably fogged by now" refrain a lot. And I contrast it with the posts of people who find old cameras with undeveloped film, who then develop passable pictures. I'd shoot a couple and see.

  8. #8

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Which reminds me: I have a bunch of 1920s plates that I won in an auction *and* a camera that they'll fit. Must see how bad they are!

    Neil

  9. #9

    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    I have a couple of crates of GI 1940's vintage Kodak plates that I ought to play with sometime. Any special developer recommended?

  10. #10

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    Re: What exactly have I got here?

    Thanks everyone for the feedback.
    Yes, I did check a little on the internet before asking my question and discovered that Kodak Super XX was a film.
    And yet the boxes do indeed say "plates".
    The rear of one box has the stamp "BACKED" and I was unaware of quite what that meant as well, in this context.
    T

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