View Full Version : unexposed glass plates.....

13-Nov-2011, 18:23
Just got 12 unopened 5x7 Kodak dry glass plates. What happens to the emulsion after 100+- years? Is there a chance an image might appear if exposed properly? I'm sure my old wooden plate holder can't wait to be reunited with real glass, but is it foolish to even open the box? I'm trying to duplicate some local shots taken on glass in the 1890's and it would be great to be "authentic" if it is possible with (in advance, I have no interest in mixing and coating with modern techniques, film works just fine in my old Century)

20-Nov-2011, 20:10
I recently bought some 9x12 plate holders for my ICA Universal Palmos 275. There were still plates in the holders likely dating from the 1930s. Since the plates had already been compromised I tried clearing a few in fixer and they cleared just fine, and then I developed a few and they came out black as expected. The emulsion was still light sensitive, but how well it would hold an image I have no idea.

I say give it a try! I have an unopened box of one dozen Kodak 8x10 plates that I hope to shoot one of these days. Just expect a severe loss of speed and significant fogging, but I have seen some examples on Flickr of 1930s Agfa and/or Ilford glass plates producing images, albeit murky and speckled ones. Could be fun.

28-Nov-2011, 07:00
I can't say whether 100 yr old plates would work, give it a try. However, About 25 years ago Xerox was getting rid of several of their darkrooms, and some of us were told we could take anything we wanted. I was the only one who wanted the large format stuff, so I got several boxes of Kodak scientific glass plates, as well as the dip tanks, etc. The plates had expiration dates from the early 60's up through the late 70's. There were several different size plates (8x10,5x7,4x5). Although I had cameras to take all of those sizes, I didn't have any plate holders, so they sat around my darkroom until I got active in Ebay. Now I have plate holders and have been shooting the plates. Even so, I still haven't used them all up. At this point some of those glass plates are almost 50 years out of date. I've seen almost no sign of fog on any of them. I think this is because their speed was very low to begin with. At any rate, I've been able to get good pictorial quality negatives from all of them (once I determined a film speed by trial and error). I'd say give your plates a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.