Panoramic Rockford from the early 1900s

Rockford, Illinois circa 1900

In my previous blog post about the Nikon F I mentioned an estate sale that I visited in 2017 which included numerous darkroom items and camera equipment.  It was at this estate sale that I purchased numerous photography related items to include boxes upon boxes of darkroom paper.  The darkroom had been dormant for at least 5 years and I know I was taking a huge risk purchasing light sensitive material, but I was feeling lucky and took a risk and purchased that paper along with pretty much every other thing in the room, three enlargers, timers, trays, books, etc.

I arrived home and piled everything in my basement to eventually organize my own darkroom.  It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I finally got around to the task of testing the paper to find out if it was still fresh; some of it was still good while others were dead.  It was a mundane process of going through each box of paper, reaching in the plastic bags inside for a sheet but in one occurrence I did not find paper, I found negatives. I was surprised not to find not just regular film negatives but three panoramic negatives.  Two of them appeared to be photographs from the early 1900s of Rockford, Illinois and the other was a photograph of a military troupe from Camp Joseph E. Johnston in Jacksonville, Florida.

Rockford at the Rock River looking west, circa 1900
Rockford at East State Bridge looking west, circa 1900
Camp Joseph E. Johnston, circa 1900

These negatives are at least 100 years old and have traveled all this way through time to finally land in my hands.  The negatives are approximately 2″x13″ long and so I am only able to make contact prints since I don’t have an enlarger that fits that size. 

Contact prints are available for purchase.  This includes a dry mounted print on mat board with a bevel. 

Purchase a darkroom contact print.

The darkroom contact prints are dry mounted on 11x17 mat board with a bevel.


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