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Thread: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

  1. #41

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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Well, typing on my phone, I just lost a long reply!
    I posted the darkroom info two years ago, while working up in Michigan.
    You are right, not quite a working darkroom, but getting close. Although it looks pretty cluttered, everything is there to process roll or sheet film, contact print or make enlargements, & more. The drawers are stocked with Wollensak enlarging lenses, spanners, Series VI &VIII filters & more. I just ordered a bellows for the Deardorff. I was at the ship two weeks ago & we got a safelight hung (Kodak Model D). Don't give up the ship! It is a work in progress.

  2. #42

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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    There is a good film on YouTube called "Printing the Positive". It shows your Fairchild printer in use. It uses GE AR-1 argon gas " glow bulbs". Let us know how it goes!
    BTW...they used silver chloride contact printing paper, back in the day. "Lodima" sells it, and probably "Freestyle Photo".

  3. #43
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    I think this is the WWII Training film you refer to.

    Is that the Fairchild Printer?

    U.S. NAVY PHOTOGRAPHY FUNDAMENTALS TRAINING FILM PRINTING THE POSITIVE 88644a

    This film could be a sticky on how to print contacts right here.

    Must be Public Domain?
    sin eater

  4. #44

    Thumbs up Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_Fuller View Post
    There is a good film on YouTube called "Printing the Positive". It shows your Fairchild printer in use. It uses GE AR-1 argon gas " glow bulbs". Let us know how it goes!
    BTW...they used silver chloride contact printing paper, back in the day. "Lodima" sells it, and probably "Freestyle Photo".
    Indeed, my printer does play a cameo role in that film! Thanks to you and Tin Can below for posting it, and for the additional info. Looking forward to printer's arrival.

  5. #45

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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    A quick note about a 1940's darkroom, compared to the later 35mm era:
    The more I got into the darkroom project, the more I began to see how the "boom" of 35mm film in the last decades of the film era affected a lot of things.
    When I got into into B&W printing in the late 1970's...enlarging was simply how you made a print.
    In the 1940's, you could make enlargements, BUT the first thing you thought of was to use the light-box type contact printer. (The 1948 US Navy film, "Printing the Positive" didn't even show an enlarger.) When I was in school and first printing... except for 35mm index prints, made on the enlarger with a piece of glass for weight, contact printing had all but disappeared. The 35mm negs, laid directly on a piece of photo paper, would only make a postage stamp-sized contact print. The cameras of the 1940's generally made large negatives like 4"x5" or 6x9cm.
    I probably had limited exposure to different darkrooms at the time, but I don't even remember seeing a contact printer in the... admittedly few... darkrooms I used back in the 1970's & 80's. Of course, in the Alabama's darkroom, the contact printers are back.
    So many paper names disappeared with the passing of the contact print, like Kodak AZO paper, Ansco CONVIRA, and the FIRST paper to use with artificial light...VELOX...invented by Leo Baakeland, who later invented Bakelite plastic! Eastman Kodak bought the rights to Velox from Leo Baakeland. I read that Velox...reportedly a slow paper...was made into the 1960's. If so, that is roughly the time when 35mm film was on the upswing and contact printing larger negatives...was on the way out. I don't think I have ever heard this discussed.
    Thoughts from any (older than me) printers out there?

  6. #46

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    Aug 2007
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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Mike, Congratulations on your accomplishment! Well done to preserve such an important part of history.
    Rick

  7. #47

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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_Fuller View Post
    A quick note about a 1940's darkroom, compared to the later 35mm era:
    The more I got into the darkroom project, the more I began to see how the "boom" of 35mm film in the last decades of the film era affected a lot of things.
    When I got into into B&W printing in the late 1970's...enlarging was simply how you made a print.
    In the 1940's, you could make enlargements, BUT the first thing you thought of was to use the light-box type contact printer. (The 1948 US Navy film, "Printing the Positive" didn't even show an enlarger.) When I was in school and first printing... except for 35mm index prints, made on the enlarger with a piece of glass for weight, contact printing had all but disappeared. The 35mm negs, laid directly on a piece of photo paper, would only make a postage stamp-sized contact print. The cameras of the 1940's generally made large negatives like 4"x5" or 6x9cm.
    I probably had limited exposure to different darkrooms at the time, but I don't even remember seeing a contact printer in the... admittedly few... darkrooms I used back in the 1970's & 80's. Of course, in the Alabama's darkroom, the contact printers are back.
    So many paper names disappeared with the passing of the contact print, like Kodak AZO paper, Ansco CONVIRA, and the FIRST paper to use with artificial light...VELOX...invented by Leo Baakeland, who later invented Bakelite plastic! Eastman Kodak bought the rights to Velox from Leo Baakeland. I read that Velox...reportedly a slow paper...was made into the 1960's. If so, that is roughly the time when 35mm film was on the upswing and contact printing larger negatives...was on the way out. I don't think I have ever heard this discussed.
    Thoughts from any (older than me) printers out there?
    In the military, at least in the USAF photo school in the early 60s and then in AF photo labs afterwards we didn’t have enlargers. We had vertical projection printers from various manufacturers for film sizes up to 10x10”.

    We also had and used the contact printers as well, when we in temporary lab setups, the Fairbanks SS developing tanks and reels for 5” and 9” aerial films. If you didn’t have the add on motor for them you sure could build up your biceps!

  8. #48

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    Mar 2018
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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Interesting, Bob...
    Thanks for sharing...
    Mike

  9. #49

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    Re: 1940's WWII Navy Darkroom Restoration

    Thanks much, Rick. Last year, I asked the Curator (Shea) if we could crack open some long-painted-shut drawers by the darkroom door. He went down with me and opened the drawers. The bottom drawer was already ajar. He pulled the drawer out to find in the back of the cabinet a rag of a chambray shirt...and an envelope, addressed to a crewman with a negative of the ship in it! A 6x9cm neg, probably shot with a Kodak Medalist. Everything is in place now...we need to print that last order from the 1940's!

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