Re: Swayback Reefers


Here is a brief reference work to those tonal shifts between the two chemistries.

I suggest putting it in your files. Its five pages.

"To 1920, photographers used orthographic film which had limited tonal qualities. But between 1900 and 1920, photographers switched to panchromatic film which had improved resolution and grey-scale tonal qualities. The newer film captured more details that provided for easier identification of clothing designs, textures, materials, and construction techniques. Furthermore, when the photographic processes are known, colors and the origins of clothing become identifiable."

I have a more graphic rich document, but can’t find a bookmark for it on this computer. It may be on my ‘main’ system.

Best to ya,
Mike Bauers
Milwaukee, Wi

On Dec 31, 2015, at 7:13 AM, destorzek wrote:

Google "orthochromatic film." The chemistry was popular into at least the twenties because it was excellent at rendering detail, but did a very poor job of reproducing colors. This has been a bane for the Soo Line historian; that road had so few yellow cars the photographers didn't see the need to use panchromatic film, and about half the photos of reefers in the society freightcar book don't show any lettering at all. The film renders reds and yellows as such a dark graytone that the black lettering simply disappears. Blues, on the other hand, don't reproduce at all. I have a photo in the files at work of one of the Merchants Despatch wood reefers that appears to only have one stripe along the bottom, the red stripe rendered as jet black. The only way to tell there was also a blue stripe is the fact that the shadows cast by the V groove siding have simply disappeared in the area painted blue.

Dennis Storzek

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