Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Alvin

He dreamed of going fast.  Written on the back, "1929, My Alvin, Courts 54TH St. & Hooper."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cine Kodak Eight Model 20

I love photographs of people holding cameras, especially when it's a camera in my collection.  The Cine Kodak Eight Model 20 (Mine still works.) is one of the most important mass market movie cameras ever made.  Introduced in 1932, as the great depression took it's toll on Kodak's bottom line, the Model 20 was the first double 8 camera ever made.  (Also know as regular 8 or straight 8.)  Some unknown Kodak engineer came up with a very simple idea.  Take a roll of 16mm movie film, the standard for home movies, double the number of perforations, expose only one half the width of film per pass through the camera, flip the reel over, run it through the camera a second time, exposing the other half of the film.  Four frames where there had been one.  A 25 foot reel of double 8 would have the same run time as a 100 foot reel of 16mm.  After processing, the film had to be slit in half, and the two lengths spliced together, but the greater processing costs were small compared to the savings in film stock.  At a time when the vast majority of Kodak's customers were short of money, the Cine Model 20 kept Kodak in the home movie business.

So, what difference does it make if a double 8 camera still works when the film is no longer made?  Actually, in a way, it still is.  While no surviving film company still manufactures the film, some do make 16mm.  There are companies that still have working 8mm perforating machines.  They buy 16mm, run it through the perforating machines, and new double 8 is made.  In the United States, Dwayne's Photography in Parsons, Kansas.  If interested, go to their website, and place an order.  They'll process it too.  All part of the service.  It's not cheap, but it does keep those of us who love film happy.  And while I haven't bothered to do the research, I'd be surprised if there aren't small operations like Dwayne's still operating in Europe, Asia or South America.

Just looking at this picture, I'm betting that it was taken sometime in the early to mid fifties.  The cars are older than that, but our budding John Ford is pretty young, and he and his friends were probably driving older cars.  Too, take a look at the bottom of the print.  Short shorts, plus the hair cut, and the expanding metal watchband...well, I could be wrong, but taken together, I'm not getting a feel for an earlier time period.

And finally...The serial number on my camera is AK 6181.  That has to be pretty early in the manufacturing run.  Perhaps, 1932.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Is it summer yet?

Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles does have seasons.  Or at least we used to.  Today's temps may only be in the seventies, but it's gotten to the point where we hit the nineties  every month of the year.  I know  climate change deniers will point out that there are record highs approaching 100 for mid December, and every other month, but those past days were anomalies.  Now, high temps and rainless winters are becoming the new norm.  Good for those of us who like to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  That is until we run out of water from ongoing drought.

As far as the location of these two photos.  There aren't many cities in the United States where the hotels go right down to the beach.  The two that came to mind were Miami and Honolulu.  I went on line and searched images of Miami and Honolulu in the 1950s, but couldn't find a match for the hotel in the background, that I was sure of, from either city.   I did notice that Honolulu had more palm trees, wider beaches, and hotels with fewer floors.  So, unless corrected, I'm going with Hawaii.  That's going on the assumption that these pictures were taken in the United States.  Could be Mexico or the French Riviera for all I know.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Are these the same kid?

Anyone who has followed The New Found Photography knows there aren't a lot of baby photos to be seen.  I know some people think pictures of babies are just soooo cute.  Not me.  I think baby photos are just plain boring.

These two cabinet cards go back to my early days of collecting when I cared more about age than the image itself.  Too, I'm from Apollo, have been to Altoona, and I'm sure that attracted me as well. And to go with a more modern usage, how often do you see a re-purposed cabinet card?  Mr. Schreckengost may not have been much of an artist/photographer, but he certainly was frugal.  Why buy card stock with your own logo, when it's just as easy to put a sticker over another photographer's studio mark.  And for the record, I was probably around 14 or 15 when I picked these up.  I just turned 59.

So why do I think this might be the same kid?  Written on the back of the second photo, "Marie Carskaddan, Apollo, 13 months-Dec. 1895."  Anyway, they look like the same kid to me.

 I haven't found anything, on line, about A.S. Wolfe, Schreckengost, or Howard, though, when I was in grade school, I got beat up, a lot, by a classmate named Schreckengost.  Bobby, I think, but don't quote me on that.  Nothing on little Marie, either.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Another cabinet card with nothing on the card worth scanning.  In this case, very faded gold lettering, rather plain, on a dark green card.  So difficult to see that I needed my best magnifying glass to read "Kochler COALPORT"  I couldn't find any info on Mr. (or Miss?) Kochler.  And as far as the subject of the photo, well we know he liked a spiffy tie.

Coalport is a very small town in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.  It was first settled in 1876 and incorporated in 1883.  The 1930 census showed Coalport at it's grandest, 1,222 people.  Today, not so much.  The population was down to 523 in 2010, a slight up tick from 2000 when 490 people called Coalport home.  

I grew up in western Pennsylvania, not far from Coalport, though I have no memory of ever having been there.  I suspect it's just another dying town in the coal fields.  I'd be surprised if it survives another fifty years.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mr. Mudge

No, I have no idea what this gentleman's name was.  This portrait is mounted on a card, but the only information "M M Mudge CHATTANOOGA"  is embossed and doesn't scan well, so I just cropped it all out.  I couldn't find any biographical information about Mr. Mudge, but I did find an article he wrote in a nineteenth century magazine.  In Photographic Mosaics he stresses the importance of printer's ink over gallery displays in advertising the photographer's business.  Nice tie and mustache.

Friday, April 4, 2014

In Old Egypt

This one's a real photo postcard.  The back has a standard Kodak manufactured K Ltd. stamp block, with no other identifying marks that would, more often than not, be present on a card published for mass sale.  So I'm fairly confident that this card was printed up for one of the people in the photo.  But which one, and why were they in Egypt?  Standard issue tourists, seeing the wonders of the world?  Or were they part of the American religious community that has always headed to the middle east to see sights from the Bible?  I found this one in an antique store that I visit from time to time.  If I get lucky, I'll find another one of these cards with something written on the back.  If these people are all headed off to the casinos of Monte Carlo or a French bar, we'll know they were out for a good time.  But if Egypt was followed by Bethlehem and Jerusalem, then we have a church group.  I'd prefer it if these people were tourists out to have a good time, but my gut tells me, church people.