When did enlarging become usual?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by troll, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. When did enlarging become usual? As late as 1916, Paul Strand
    enlareged his 2x3 glass plates by copying them as lantern slides and
    photographing those with a big glass plate camera. And that was at
    the NY Camera Club darkroom, which should have had the latest
    equipment available. When did Kodak or Ansco, etc, start selling
    enlarging paper to the general public?
  2. The first gelatin-coated silver bromide printing paper, according to Crawford's "The Keeper's of Light," was released in 1873; by 1886 developing papers (chemically developed rather than printed out under light) were mass-produced by 1886, used for enlargements. See also http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/enlargers.htm
  3. Thanks, Dana. I also found a reference which said that the first of the modern (upright) type enlargers was introduced in 1921 (prior to that they had been horizontal basically lantern slide projectors), and that Ilford and Kodak introduced "high speed gaslight" papers commercially soon after that.
  4. Dana, thanks for the link to that history site- it's one I hadn't seen before.
  5. It would seem logical to assume that enlarging first became really popular with the introdcution of miniature formats which couldn't be contact printed. You can get a fair print from a 6x9cm negative, but a contact print from 35mm is essentaily useless.

    The first 35mm Leica appeared around 1925 I think, so I'd guess that may be when enlarging really became popular, though cameras using 35mm movie film had been around for at least 10 years before that in one form or another.
  6. I once owned a quite crappy Zeiss Ikon AF Enlarger, marketed in the late 20s early 30s. It was made for 6.5x9cm glassplates and 35mm film if necessary, but had only a probably 100mm lens.

    The German Comunist-shutterbug-magazine "Der Arbeiterfotograf" adviced the comrades not to buy a bourgoise Leica or anything else up to 9x12cm, because enlarging was still comparable expensive in the late 20s / early 30s.

    I suppose enlarging was mentioned in a instruction book printed 1918, that I once read.
  7. This is something i had never thought about much but was interested to learn about recently.
    <P>From the book 'discovering cameras 1945-1965' by Robert White
    <BR>"During the 50's smaller format cameras were in demand,especially those taking 35mm film,and particularly by users of colour slide film.For most of the 1950's photographic prints were made by contact,which gave the print the same size as the negative,so cameras taking negatives 6cm x 9cm and 6cm x 6cm remained popular.By the late 1950's many proccessing houses were offering en-prints,small scale enlargements from the whole of the negative,at a price a little above that of a contact print.By then the lower cost per negative from small format cameras,combined with the low-cost en-prints,led to the replacement of larger roll film cameras by smaller models even for snapshots."
  8. Panatomic came out in the 1930's; for 35mm and Bantum/828 cameras; for "enlargeability". Popular Photography magazine in later 1930's had enlargers advertized; and even sports contests for the Rollei TLR for sports photos. Some cameras actually were used designed or adapted for enlarging. The Kodak Medialist can be used as an enlarger. The Simmon brothers made an enlarger in 1935 for 35mm; and later the D series in 1939 for 4x5; a US army contract. The stainless Nikor tank stems from the 1930's too. There are ancient brands; Federal; etc that have been lost with time. Kodak made enlarger before WW2; and enlarging lenses too. Many folks had no money and homemade was acceptable then. In Popular Photography December 1938; page 68; in Notes on the salon Section; ; the notes for H M Weis's flower shot says the print was 20x24 inches; "He use a home-made enlarger and the lens from his camera for projection, which was made on P M C 11 bromide paper"; the negative section was 1 1/2 x2; panatomic; camera a 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 National Graphic Series II with 75mm Bausch and Lomb Tessar. That is how they spelled Bausch in the magazine article. Today if somebody here mentions they used their camera lens as an enlarging lens the arm chair experts will quickly debunk it as not possible. During an economic depression; folks used what they could made do with.
  9. I thought this was interesting enough to save from oblivion in the non-archived forum, so I zapped it here into the film and processing forum.
  10. I've an advertisment somewhere from the twenties for a 'Brownie enlarger' which gave fixed size enlargements from 6x9 negs, so it wasn't the preserve of miniature formats. I also seem to recall seeing a very similar Ilford example.
  11. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I believe Ansel Adams first used an enlarger consisting of his view camera mounted in a window, as a light source, in the 1920s. Overcast days gave consistant results. Graflex made a stand, film holder and light source which one could use to turn the Speed/Crown Graphic into an enlarger. I have one of those. The use of the taking lens as the enlarging lens was believed to be of use to correct lens abberations in the enlargement. For instance, a lens that gave a denser area in the center of the negative, from too much light transmission, would also permit more light transmission in that area to the enlarging paper to balance out.
  12. I can't tell you when enlarging became common, but I can tell you that contact printing service for amateur negatives was still commonly available in the early 60's. This was for roll film negatives 6x6 cm or larger.

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