Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Bit of History

No, it's not a great photograph, but it is a bit of tech history. This image is a very early Polaroid. Introduced in 1948 as the Model 95, the first instant system (40 series) used a roll film mounted on two spools, one with the negative that processed in the camera and the other spool, the positive strip and reagent chemical pack. I'm not competent to describe in detail how it worked, so I'll just write that as the two strips were pulled out of the camera, they went through a roller and after a minute of processing time, the instant image was produced. The 40 series format produced a print that was 3.25 x 4.25 inches, a handy way to tell the early roll system from latter ones. Too, look at the clothing worn, and we get another clue that this image is closer to 1948 than to 1964 when the last 40 series camera was made. Interesting aside, when I was working at the photo lab, one of our customers brought in a huge box of the Polaroid backing, the stuff from the roll system that most people threw away after they got the instant print. I took it into a darkroom and let it soak for a few hours in a photo-flo bath. The paper slid off leaving a conventional negative behind that we put in enlargers and printed. I do wish that Polaroid would keep it's promise to license production of film for their cameras. I still have a couple of them that worked last time I used them.

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