Sunday, June 21, 2009

Old Plates

An old 12 pack package of 8x10 film plates was opened in total darkness. It had been sealed air tight. Inside was a loose instruction sheet that was found after the lights were put on again. It tells what developer to use, when the film was new, however, the film is now around 50 years old. I have other packages much older. Anyway, 12 sheets of glass were inside; the film was purchased for the glass; any pictures it could take would be an interesting diversion. And, developing old plate film is part of the interest I have in plate photography.
Inside the double box, a box of two lids and one base, was a wax paper bundle of all the plates. Inside that were two black paper packages of 6 plates each. Plates were packed with white cardboard edges to hold two plates face to face. The little channels of card stock were found after the lights went on. 6 plates remain after these expirments.
What side was the emulsion face on? That was determined by pressing dampened thumb and index finger on a corner. One side stuck and that was the emulsion. The other side was rough to the touch. It came off pink in the prewash. There are no notches in the glass like there are on film. Plates are packed face to face, held together by cardboard bent edge channels.
Edges of the glass are sharp; they have not been smoothed. They never cut me, but, one must be very careful.
Some plates were subsisquently totally underexposed and so nothing happened in development. They were rated at 400 ISO and were totally off the scale, of the image shown below that shows a field, towards the light side 4 stops. That was good because the emulsion started to come off in long processing. Rubbing with rubber gloved fingers took all of it off very easily. One plate at least is ready for recoating.

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