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1938 Kodachrome

Nick Clarke , May 02, 2010; 05:11 p.m.

I have just been given some family pictures including some 16mm film taken by my Grandfather before WWII. As Kodachrome is soon to be no more it interested me to see these images from the early years. This film cost 22/6 for 50ft (process paid) - about $7 and is marked best before July 1938.


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Nick Clarke , May 02, 2010; 05:16 p.m.

My father who is sitting in the middle deckchair was about 10 at the time (He is nearly 83 now) Here is the box.

Kodachrome box

Les Sarile , May 02, 2010; 05:32 p.m.

I wonder what the designation "safety" meant?

James Dainis , May 02, 2010; 05:34 p.m.

Rather expensive film actually. $7.00 in 1938 had about the same buying power as $104.98 in 2010. Annual inflation over this period was about 3.83%.

Marc Bergman , May 02, 2010; 05:41 p.m.

"Safety Film" means it wasn't a nitrate based film.

Marc Bergman , May 02, 2010; 05:48 p.m.

My 1938 Wards catalog shows a price of $4.28 with prepaid processing. I guess we got a break on pricing.

The catalog shows prices of between $31.50 and $105 for a 16mm movie camera. Projectors were slightly above this in price.

Kelly Flanigan , May 02, 2010; 06:10 p.m.

Les and the group;

non "safety film" can be sometime Nitrate based; which created some horrible fire issues. It was dropped in 35mm movie film roughly about say 1950.

Generally no 8mm or 16mm was made in Nitrate base; but often 35mm was.

The first roll films from Kodak were Nitrate based; so be carefull if you scan some real old stuff; they can be unstable and very flammable.

An old rule of thumb is be use caution and check with pre ww2 stuff.

A sliver off a nitrate negative if taken outside where smokers hang out burns like all get out; like flash powder of a ping pong ball sometimes; other times not so quick.

The first Kodak roll films are Nitrate based; and may not be marked; regards.

John Shriver , May 02, 2010; 06:29 p.m.

1938 is before Kodak solved the Kodachrome fading problem in 1939.

Ron Andrews , May 02, 2010; 06:52 p.m.

The selective re-exposure process replaced the dye bleach process in 1938. If this film was marked "best before July 1938", it was probably the older variety. I've seen many examples of Kodachrome from 1938 on, but this is the first one I've seen the probably dates from before the process change. This doesn't look faded. The edge area is solid black. It looks monochrome.

Nick, Is this reproduction a fair representation of what the film looks like? Thank you for posting this.

Ron Andrews , May 02, 2010; 06:56 p.m.

On the cost issue, I have a copy of a magazine ad from 1923 introducing the first cine Kodak (later called model A). This was the first amateur movie system. The camera and projector sold for $235. Not exactly a mass market item.

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