Couldn't say to the exact origins of the word in regards to photographic history, but I would bet Kodak's unrelenting use of the word for the last seventy five years in the US is largely responsible for the popularity of the term in US parlance. Odds are they picked it up because it sounded cool, and had something to do with photography.
You should look at the quality of Autochromes they are the first "real" colour film/plate, if you've never seen original prints made from them then you should make an effort, the colours are extraordinarily good considering the technology and why Kodachrome has that name.
There were a number of colour slide films prior to Kodachrome all additive processes like Lumiere Filmcolor, Dufaycolor, and Agfacolor, but Kodak needed to differentiate their new film which was the first subtractive process from its competitors so used Chrome instead of Color, to indicate the better colour fidelity, for the same reasons Lumiere had used the term in Autochrome aboutb 30 years earlier.
In fact it was some time before a major competitor used Chrome to denote slides, Agfacolor-Neu launched in 1936 a year after Kodachrome and was their subtractive Transparency film. The next chrome transparency films were Ektachrome, again from Kodak.
In 1954 Gevachrome is a B&W film, Gevacolor R (reversal) N (neg), Agafacolor Neg or Reversal, Ilford Colour D (reversal),, same in the early 60's. Probably the first company to copy Kodak is Fuji with the release of Fujichrome in the late 1950's.
The term "Chrome" for other colour transparency films began being added slowly with Agfa and Perutz using it with new films (1964 Agfa had merged with Gevaert and rationalised it's film products) but it only became common to all with the release of the E6 in 1977 when all company's outside the Eastern block moved to E6 as a fully compatible processing system.
I am, of course, aware that there were other color processes before Kodachrome. But none of them REALLY seemed to catch on. So, when I say that Kodachrome was the first REAL color film, I mean that it was the first color film that actually 'made it' in the long term. None of those other color processes really amounted to anything in the long term. Kodachrome endured for almost 75 years.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
We said trannies in the UK but then those US trannies might object
What dress are you wearing today John . . . . .
I think that 'tranny' is a less popular word for transparencies here in the US because the word 'tranny' generally means an automotive transmission here.
Well, I want to know why we call them "cameras"! I mean, yes, there was the camera-obscura. But really, the word camera means "room" and not plastic/metal/wooden box.
Discuss ... :rolleyes:
As I understand it, "camera" doesn't mean "room" (as we use it) so much as "chamber" -- an enclosed space. The essential part of a camera is an enclosed space. Add a lens and a film holder, and you're ready to go.