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Railfan Technology > Panchromatic Nitrate film

Date: 10/10/19 08:20
Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: donstrack

I have been scanning and re-scanning the Emil Albrecht 35mm black & white negatives I now own. Some that I scanned back in 2013 are getting re-scanned due to a better scanner, and more skill on my part.

I just realised that several from 1946 are Panchromatic Nitrate film stock, which is dangerous on many levels, and the reason Kodak invented Safety Film. Since I don't have proper storage facilities, and I have not been able to get an archive to take these due mostly to copyright issues, my inclination is to figure a way to scan them in some form of "raw" format, then dispose of the negatives themselves. In addition, these are very tightly curled, and cannot be stored flat.

I am open to suggestions, but am not interested in any comment to "send them to me, I'll take them."

Don Strack

Date: 10/10/19 09:09
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: jkh2cpu

You might ask someone at a large museum, such as the Smithsonian. I suspect that they deal with this problem all of the time.


Date: 10/10/19 10:33
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: grahamline

I have to believe someone at https://history.utah.gov/library-collections/ has dealt with this sort of negatives, but I am equally sure you have already been down that road.  At the very least, they could tell you how they handle the situation, if you can make contact with a conservator or technician.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/19 10:22 by grahamline.

Date: 10/10/19 13:37
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: CharlesVarnes

The Northeast Document Conservation Center may be able to help. 

"Founded in 1973, NEDCC was the first independent conservation laboratory in the nation to specialize exclusively in treating collections made of paper or parchment, such as works of art, photographs, books, documents, maps, and manuscripts. Today, the Center offers conservation treatment, digital imaging, and audio preservation services, as well as preservation training, assessments and consultations, and disaster advice on collections. NEDCC is a trusted resource worldwide for information on the preservation of paper-based collections." 


Link to their photograph conservation page: https://www.nedcc.org/photograph-conservation-at-nedcc/about 



Date: 10/11/19 10:26
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: fbe

Is it possible to do another final rinse of the negatives in distilled water then press them in a print drier to take the twist out of the negatives?

Date: 10/11/19 10:53
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: jkh2cpu

fbe Wrote:
> Is it possible to do another final rinse of the
> negatives in distilled water then press them in a
> print drier to take the twist out of the
> negatives?

That's a thought, but doing so might do what to the
emulsion on the nitrate backing? Tear it? or will
the emulsion simply be freed from the backing,
making a nasty business of something already fragile.

The experts have been down this road. I'd check with
them before doing the obvious has a big pitfall that
will not be anticipated until it is unmasked during



Date: 10/11/19 11:12
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: Arved

The Nitrate film is a scarey part, but I recently had some 120 film that dried with a curl (transverse) that made it difficult to scan. Probably a problem with the conditions the film dried in. I warmed up the film carefully, then put them into the protective sleaves, and put a book over them so they'd cool being held flat. It worked.

I would definately seek out expert advice on how to handle that Nitrate film. Please report back, as I'm very curious now!

Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass

Date: 10/11/19 17:28
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: fbe

I didn't mean to go and do it but to take the idea and ask around about it. All the roll films I have heard about are safe in water account liquids are used in all steps of processing the images.

Date: 10/12/19 07:26
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: Frisco1522

I was given a roll of 35MM b&w film some years back shot by a friend of mine.   He kept the rolls intact and stored them in the film can.  It had been taken out and printed several times at the least.  It was shot in the early 40s and after all of that time coiled up in the can had turned into a coil of spring steel.   I tried every way I could imagine to flatten it out, but it kept that coiled form.   Of course, every time someone uncoiled it and let it snap back into the coil, it scratched the emulsion.
I finally settled on buying some snap together slide mounts, cutting it into individual frames.   Only way to fly.

Date: 10/12/19 20:27
Re: Panchromatic Nitrate film
Author: E25

Here's Kodak's take on the subject.


One comment that caught my attention was that it should never be enclosed in an air-tight container.

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ

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