What style of photo printing is this?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by NellsPhoto, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. NellsPhoto

    NellsPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, first post here, and it is a QUESTION!

    I have had no luck finding answers elsewhere, so here goes:

    What style of photography produced this image? By style, I mean print method. The corners are a silvery/metallic color/finish. It is part of a set and research into the topic tells me they were taken around 1879-1880. The images themselves measure roughly 9.5 x 7.5”.

    [​IMG]


     
  2. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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  3. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Most likely a silver-gelatin print. The process was adopted quickly after it's introduction in 1871. Same process we use today for darkroom b&w prints. The silvery/metallic look you see in the corners is the result of either/or both original chemical contamination and chemical assault over time that is changing the silver content of the print and turning it to colloidal silver.

    Joe
     
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  4. NellsPhoto

    NellsPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Wow, THANKS! Another forum I asked was too concerned with my posting links and images and no one gave me anything CLOSE to an answer!

    There are three photos in the set, and this one is the only one with the silvery corners. I was thinking it had to do with those old lenses. Sort of a "binocular view", if that makes sense.

    Another question: would this image have been captured on a glass negative? I assume so, given the age, but I am still curious.
     
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  5. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, glass plate negative, possibly a dry plate but not necessarily -- given the time it could have been wet-plate.

    Joe
     
  6. NellsPhoto

    NellsPhoto TPF Noob!

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    the difference being simply wet vs. dry chemicals on the plate? Did BOTH use the SAME chemicals?
     
  7. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This was the breakthrough that created the Eastman Kodak Co. In 1851 F. Archer figured out how to get film on glass. The problem with his process was that if you allowed the plates (negatives) to fully dry they became unusable. So from about 1852 for the next 30 years photographers had to make their film in the field on the spot. They would set up a portable darkroom (literally) and go in and make film. They then waited about 10 minutes until the film became tacky but not yet dry and ran out and took the photo. Then they went straight back into the darkroom to develop the film (glass plate) before it dried. Needless to say the minute Archer invented the process everyone started working on a solution to avoid it. They wanted to be able to make the film in advance, dry it, and then use it later and develop it later. Folks with various degrees of success making dry plates started to show up in the late 1870s but it was George Eastman who finally pulled it all together. He invented a plate coating machine in 1879 and opened up for business selling dry plate film in 1880.

    That history begs an interesting question regarding your prints. If your dates are accurate you may have photographic prints made from some of the earliest know commercial dry plates. And now the question I ask everyone who comes to me with questions about photographic prints; where's the negatives!

    Joe
     
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  8. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Assuming the OP's print is on paper, it could be a silver gelatin print as this process did exist in the 1870s but it was crude at that time and mass produced silver gelatin paper was not yet commercially available.

    I would say it is more likely to be an albumen print if the date given in the OP is the correct date the print was made. Albumen printing was the dominant method used in the mid to late 1800s until silver gelatin printing began replacing it around the turn of the century (1890s+).

    There was no "Eastman Kodak Co. in 1851"

    Eastman's company began in the late 1870s and was called the Eastman Dry Plate Co. and the word "Kodak" didn't exist until 1888 when the first Kodak camera was marketed by Eastman.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  9. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    "In 1851" is the beginning of a new sentence. Arguably I left out a period. The capital I is a give-away. When Eastman invented his dry plate coating machine in 1879 it was the breakthrough that convinced George to quit his day job and go into the photo business full-time which resulted ultimately in the Eastman Kodak Co.

    Joe
     
  10. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I see what you intended to say about Eastman but I believe the OP's print is still most likely to be an albumen type, wouldn't you say?
     
  11. NellsPhoto

    NellsPhoto TPF Noob!

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  12. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, if it was printed in 1879-80 then it is most likely an albumen print because that was the most popular photo printing process at that time. Of course, it could have been printed later using another process such as silver gelatin which was the most popular method in the 1900s.

    Are there cracks in the print's surface?
     

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