Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by helensilverburg, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. I went through my aunt's trunk in the attic and found a bunch of old
    pics. One in particular was approximately about 3 inches long and
    about 2 1/2 inches wide. But it wasn't on paper. It looks like it's
    glass! It's in a very fragile state, so I didn't handle it too much.
    Wrapped around the edges to frame the photo, was a gold aluminum-like
    material. This material was very soft. The photo is of an 18th
    century woman with a big hat. The shot is from the bust up, and she's
    wearing a real old fashioned dress. I can tell it's the kind you see
    in movies where it goes down to the floor and has a big bussle in the
    I'm very curious to know how this photo was taken. Did they actually
    use glass back then? If anyone knows I'd really appreciate your help.
    Just curious! :)
    Thank you,
    helensilverburg, Jan 16, 2007
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  2. helensilverburg

    Peter Irwin Guest

    That sounds like a lantern slide except for the size.
    Standard sizes were:
    3 1/4" x 3 1/4" (UK)
    3 1/4 x 4" (US)
    8.5 x 10 cm (continental Europe)

    If it matches one of those sizes the probability that
    it was a slide for projection goes way up.

    Glass lantern slides were popular from the dawn of time
    until Kodachrome slides took over.
    Plates for both glass negatives and positives were readily
    available until very recently, and were popular in some
    parts of the world up until the 1950s or 60s.

    The last big use of lantern plates in the 3 1/4 x 4 inch
    size was for electron microscopes. Kodak still makes film
    in that size for that purpose. A lantern plate is a glass
    plate coated with an emulsion similar to photographic paper.
    The can be printed by contact or printed with an enlarger.

    Peter Irwin, Jan 16, 2007
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  3. Thanks Peter for that very imformative reply. I thought it was glass,
    but didn't want to make an assumption unless I was absolutely sure.
    Even for it's age, it's very sharp and clear. Maybe because of it's
    size, but I've seen b&w slides that couldn't compare to this
    masterpiece. I'll have to find my tape measure and see what the exact
    measurements are.
    Wow, have we ever come a long way baby!
    helensilverburg, Jan 16, 2007
  4. Check this out:
    William Graham, Jan 16, 2007

  5. Yes! That's exactly what it is. Thanks Bill for that very informative
    link. The trouble these guys went through to get a nice pic! They
    were certainly dedicated, and thanks to them, we can now appreciate the
    hard work they went through and take a glimpse into our past.
    helensilverburg, Jan 16, 2007
  6. helensilverburg

    Ric Trexell Guest

    Helen: In those days cameras were view cameras. The focusing was done on a
    frosted plate glass so it was similar to a SLR today. Ofcourse view cameras
    are still made and used. Ric in Wisconsin.
    Ric Trexell, Jan 17, 2007

  7. I am well aware view cameras are still being used today. They are
    amazing. I had the pleasure to use one, a Linhoff. Heavy and
    cumbersome, but worth every minute I spent with it. Would use it again
    in a heartbeat! I was just wondering whether glass was used during
    that era. Thanks to everyone for your great info.
    helensilverburg, Jan 17, 2007
  8. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest

    Several years ago, I had access to over 1,500, 8"x10" glass plate negatives
    chronicling the construction of the first hydroelectric generating plant on
    the Canadian side of the Niagara River at Niagara Falls. It was known as
    the Rankine Generating Station. I used the opportunity to scan all of the
    plates and I still have digital copies of the images. The collection was
    later donated to the Canadian Archives. The dates of the photo were written
    on most of the plates. Here is a 2481 x 2000 pixel copy of the image taken
    from plate #720, photographed on August 26, 1904:
    Mardon, Jan 17, 2007

  9. That is an amazing photo! I commend you for contributing them to the
    Canadian Archives. It's fascinating how photography has evolved over
    the years! Thank you very much for that Mardon!
    helensilverburg, Jan 17, 2007
  10. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest

    Thank you. I'm gald that they're now safe with the National Archives too.
    Here's another peek at one. It's plate #81, taken March 6, 1902.
    Mardon, Jan 17, 2007
  11. helensilverburg

    Annika1980 Guest

    Wow, that's amazing. I could look at old pics like that for hours.
    Post some more if you get a chance.

    BTW, is it just me or does the color seem to be just a bit off in that
    Annika1980, Jan 18, 2007
  12. LOL.......I don't think color film was invented back then, but I could
    be wrong.
    Yeah, those old pics are a treat to view. I have a whole bunch of them
    from my mother's side of the family. I have nothing from my father's
    helensilverburg, Jan 18, 2007
  13. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest


    I've added a page to my website for these old images. I've put 3 there for

    Maybe I'll add more from time to time. I have over 1,500 images scanned
    from glass plate negatives exposed during the first decade of the 20th

    Are you joking about the colour being off? I hope so. They are grayscale
    images with an embedded profile of "Gray Gamma 2.2". Maybe they won't look
    good on a Mac at gamma 1.8?.
    Mardon, Jan 18, 2007
  14. helensilverburg

    That_Rich Guest

    That_Rich, Jan 18, 2007
  15. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest

    I forgot to mention that my family history website is full of old photos of
    my ancestors. The place to start from is here:
    Mardon, Jan 19, 2007
  16. They look fine on this (laptop) Mac.

    But: they are RGB! Now, each channel has exactly the same histogram as
    the others, but somewhere it got put into RGB.

    If it has a color cast, that suggests the monitor is a tad off.... it
    looks completely grayscale here, but it most certainly has three color
    channels, however lacking in saturation!
    John McWilliams, Jan 19, 2007
  17. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest

    The 3 thumbnails at http://www.justphotos.ca/misc/cnp/ are RGB but the
    images that are linked to the thumbnails are definitely grayscale with an
    embedded grayscale profile. I just double-checked. Why do you say they
    are RGB?
    Mardon, Jan 19, 2007
  18. helensilverburg

    j ` f Guest

    The JPEG specification is only RGB. All greyscale, duotone, cmyk, etc.
    images are either converted to RGB automatically or have to be converted
    prior to compression, depending on the software used.
    j ` f, Jan 19, 2007
  19. helensilverburg

    Colin_D Guest

    Something's wrong with the link, then. Both your images are definitely
    RGB. I opened them in Photoshop, and the Mode said RGB for both
    Further, the first image unpacked size is 14.2 MB, and on converting to
    grayscale in PS the size dropped to 4.74 MB, likewise the second image,
    from 9.18 MB to 3.06 MB.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Jan 19, 2007
  20. helensilverburg

    Mardon Guest


    I'm totally puzzled. I'd really like to understand what is going on that
    causes people to see these images as RGB. I just ftp'd the 3 images in
    question from the server back to my PC. These images are:


    I then looked at them using Adobe Bridge CS3 and opened them in PS CS3.
    The file specs from Bridge are shown below. PS CS3 shows the "Mode" as
    "grayscale". I'm at a loss as to why they are appearing to be RGB to
    others. Any thoughts?

    Filename Cnp1038CloseUp.jpg
    File Size 195 KB
    Dimensions 1100 x 734
    Resolution 72 dpi
    Color Mode B&W
    Color Profile Gray Gamma 2.2

    Filename Cnp1514.jpg
    File Size 164 KB
    Dimensions 1100 x 787
    Resolution 72 dpi
    Color Mode B&W
    Color Profile Gray Gamma 2.2

    Filename Cnp1924.jpg
    File Size 218 KB
    Dimensions 1100 x 7377
    Resolution 72 dpi
    Color Mode B&W
    Color Profile Gray Gamma 2.2
    Mardon, Jan 19, 2007
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