Historical question about Cellulose Nitrate
My question about this type of film base is: when was this type of film base discarded?
I know what Wikipedia have about this, but my question comes from this situation. Yesterday I found several negatives of one photo/photographer house (one of the famous) of my home city. When the house ended, several assets were donated to the city museum.
I am working there, and in one storage rooms I found several boxes of negatives, several formats, even panoramic negatives.
A lot of the envelopes that have the negatives have the label "nitrate". So I think: woo, nitrate cellulose negatives here, in this room and how they are? Well I began to observe the various boxes of negatives. When I got home, I went to look information about the "nitrate films". Found what wiki says about how long they run in production, etc.
Today I when to see gain more negatives, all label "Nitrate". Saw 5x7 negatives and saw the notches.
I found Kodak super panchro-press type B, Kodak contrast process ortho, etc. Negatives have the year, or least the most of them have it. I saw from 1936 to 1954. In 1950, Kodak ended the production of nitrate cellulose film. But can I consider that the few negatives prior 1951 may be nitrate or all of them are acetate and the person labelled worng the negatives. Or the matter is not so black and white (with and with out pun intended) and in the middle, a few negatives may have this dangerous base and others not.
All of the negatives are photo film.
This base was phased out over decades, depending on use and manufacturer.
Originally Posted by Rhodes
To my knowledge Kodak stopped with nitrate base in 1951.
In 1950 for amateur roll films.
In 1939 amd 1949 for sheet film, depending on type.
Last edited by AgX; 02-11-2014 at 07:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Yes this is correct, each film base was replaced at a different time, to my knowledge the last film to switch away from Nitrate base was "verichrome", which became "Verichrome pan" I've developed some nitrate based verichrome with a date as late as 1953 expiration.
Originally Posted by AgX
So I'm sure many of the films pre-1950 are in fact nitrate films.
But you will have to research each film to discover when the base was changed from Nitrate to "safety film" which means non-nitrate.
~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller
Even within Kodak the dates I gave above may not be true, as Kodak manufactured film in various parts of the world. And that phasing out might have been different.
I am not sure what this posting is about. If it is to establish certainty of the nature of the base the only way to find out for sure would be a physical/chemical testing of a snippet.
One might consider a "safety film" signing, but that might be copied during reproduction.
This post is just a historical curiousity of me and to get knowlage of photo history!
Many of the negatives do not have brand and ones that I saw just say kodak!
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many films with acetate base were marked as "safety film".
As said above, nitrocellulose was phased out over a few decades. Kodak was working on a replacement for it in the 19-teens. Most roll film was on safety film by the 30s, but not all. With the ones from my grandparents' house, it turned out to be a major hodge-podge. My great-grandfather did most of the photography and would buy a new camera frequently (unfortunately ditching the old usually) and with each came a new film size. So some from 1932 are safety film and some from the 40s are nitrocellulose. Argh!
With any sheets that have notch codes, check that the code matches with what any writing on them says. Nitrate ones could have been copied onto safety film and vice-versa. Somewhere here on APUG, I have a post about the old negatives found at my grandparents' house and in that thread are some links to more info. Somewhere on the web I found a great list, but I didn't bookmark it and have not been able to find it again.
I also found that lighting a sample on fire was not always a great test. I really wish I still worked at a lab to be able to get diphenylamine reagent - it tests for nitrates. The flame test was not as dramatic on some negs as I would like for a definitive test - some just fizzled out even though I was sure they were nitrate-based (gotta run a control so you know what to look for). How they've been stored could likely make a difference to how they react as well as how degraded they are.
Using a flatbed (Epson 4870), I've gotten decent scans of mine and I've gotten some ok contact prints.
Some MOVIE safety film will glow under a UV light, so if you can get a glow it is Safety base.
I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville
Thanks for the replies! I have time, I will look into more negatives!
that souns right;my baby pictures 1954 were all taken with 'safety film':, which wasthe thing to do at the time
Originally Posted by AgX