My Father's old negatives
I was going through a pile of old stuff that I had saved when we were
cleaning out at my mother's house, and I found a couple of files of
negatives that my father (who was a keen photographer) had taken during
the 1920s and 1930s. He had his own darkroom, but I do not recall him
ever using it (he died many years ago when I was 11).
However, the world has now moved on, and the digital darkroom is a
reality. I purchased (at Costco) an
Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner -- which includes a 35mm
transparency adapter. Of course, the negatives that I have are not 35mm,
but an assortment of sizes. If someone could identify them (and the type
of camera that used them), I'd be interested.
|Size of Image
||Size of Film
It turns out that when scanning with the 2400, the software does not
allow you to see quite the full size of the transparency adapter, so
some of the larger negatives have bits cut off.
It is a real challenge to get a clean scan -- there is a lot of dust
around, and the negatives themselves have many scratches and other
The first few that I have done any work on are shown below.
Le Petit Train du Côtes-du-Nord: Viaduc de Souzain - East
is a Corpet-Louvet # 39 on the Souzain viaduct. Of course, the original
negative had no information, but the Internet being what it is, a quick search
on Google brought me to the page of the association that knows about
the CdN railway (which is in French). My schoolboy french leaves a lot
to be desired, so a quick use of the translate feature, leads to the home
page for the ACFCdN.
They identified the engine type (Corpet-Louvet) and the location
almost instantly. The viaduct was built in 1905 and has since been
demolished (in 1995).
It turns out that CdN #36 still exists in running order, see this picture,
or this set.
A very large version of this
image is available. If anybody knows how to remove the horizontal
scratches, I would be interested. The standard dust removal tool doesn't
work as the scratches are too faint, but they are visible as there is a
lot of horizontal correlation.
Viaduc de Souzain - West
searching through the negatives, and I found this one. The steam engine
is hardly visible through the clouds of steam (smoke?) but is another
Corpet-Louvet engine. The other vehicle is a De Dion Bouton KG rail
car. Apparently, the CdN ordered three of these in 1926 and put them in
service in 1928 -- so this photograph must be after that date.
A quick google for pianos
gaudu shows a rare book that mentions this piano store in
Saint-Brieuc. Happily, this is also mentioned on the ACFCdN web page.
A quick search for mafart
quincaillerie shows that they are still a hardware store in
Saint-Brieuc. Their website shows a
thoroughly modern set of buildings. They are now a large hardware
A very large version of
this image is available.
Viaduc de Souzain
viaduct was built by Harel de la Noë for the CdN and also
carried car traffic and people on foot. This was the largest viaduct
constructed for the CdN. This image shows (I assume) the car that my
father was travelling in. The track is visible in the bottom right hand
The viaduct was 280m long and 30m high -- a pretty impressive
undertaking. There are a couple of pictures on a website
dedicated to the builder.
I must thank Louis Jourdan of the ACFCdN for much of the train specific
information included on this page. He identified the locations, the
trains, pretty much everything!
My father was a car fanatic, and many of the negatives have race cars
It impresses me that you can still recover a usable image from a
negative after 75 years. My digital camera (a Nikon Coolpix 990) records
onto compact flash, then copied onto a hard drive, and then archived
onto CDR. I think that the current life estimates for CDRs are about 10
years. Compact flash is not a long term storage medium, and hard disks
are prone to catastrophic failure.
It is not clear how my grandchildren will be able to extract the
pictures that I am taking today. One solution is to print them onto
photographic paper (using your local digital minilab) and keep them
somewhere safe. The print outs from most color printers today fades very
rapidly unless the image is stored properly. Check out the Wilhelm Imaging Research
web site for more than you want to know about this issue!
Last Updated: 9th January 2003
All images © Wilfred (Peter) Gladstone 1920-1940, © Philip
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