1940s, 35mm negatives

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by david_clark|4, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. I have some Kodak 35mm negatives from the early 1940s. The film strips were
    wound around a small Kodak box all these years. Now I want to straighten them
    out so I can scan them. Does anyone know the best way to straighten these
    negatives. Is it as simple as submerging them in a water fotoflo solution and
    hanging them, or should I just roll them out and place weight on them? Does
    anyone have experience in film restoration? Thank you.
  2. You can sleeve the negs and store them in a negative binder, with time they will flatten. Or
    you could sleeve them and roll them in the direction opposite of the curl.

    As for using water and fotoflo, I'm not knowledgeable enough, esp for old negs.
  3. I was given some slides from 1960 to scan that were rolled up. I reverse curled for a week and it partially worked. I finished them up sleeved under weight.

    Patience is a virtue.
  4. I wonder if the film is Safety film or Nitrate based film. If it's nitrate based film, soaking it might not be a good thing to do.
  5. Neither would reverse curling. Old nitrate based film is often dried out and brittle. It may
    disintegrate into dust upon touch. That doesn't reverse curl very easily...

    Happy New Year!
  6. I had many rolls from the 50's which were wound into tight little cores. It was a real pain in the neck. I cut the negatives into lengths of six exposures and taped them flat onto anti-reflective glass using painter's tape. It worked pretty well.

    Depending on how valuable these negatives are to you (before and after scanning) will determine how much time and effort you want to put into this project. Restoration work can be a sink in infinite time.
  7. What are the chances nitrate film would catch on fire being scanned by a high intensity light? :p

    I'd love to see some scans off such a film. It would be interesting to see the film qualities of the time.
  8. jtk


    Desktop scanners don't use high intensity light.

    I've washed (sometimes carefully finger-squeegeeing) film going back into the 1880s..it won't hurt unless the emulsion is already bubbling off, as some of the stuff from WWII shortage-era did.

    Photoflo is a good idea, but use it lightly...no more than 3 drops per 500cc.

    I suggest you load the film onto your 35mm reels, soak and agitate for a few minutes, change the room-temp tap water a few times, soak for a day, rinse with a dip in room-temp distilled water and photoflo, hang full-length to dry with a weight on one end. Use darkroom clips top and bottom, or just use big black stationary store clips.

    To be comfortable, do this with the least important of your rolls first.

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