glass plate photos : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I have been contacted by an older lady that has som e glass plate negs. that came from her grandad and wants to have prints made. Where do I send her for printing in a safe manner. Thank you, George

-- George (, April 28, 2000


I would suggest yourself or a reliable friend. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, April 29, 2000.

George, I'm not sure where you live, but try to get in touch with your local history museum or historical society. Many of them have photo archivists that specialize in the preservation and reprinting of historical photos, many of them glass plates. If you decide to give it a try yourself, remember that plate negatives are EXTREMELY fragile, and, once broken, are gone forever. Given that, printing glass negs yourself is emminently doable. If you enlarge them, you will probably need to rig a negative carrier that won't pinch, squeeze or otherwise damage the plate. There are usually problems with contrast, since the older negatives were designed for printing on POP, (which you could also try!) and therefore much contrastier that negs tailored for modern enlarging papers. I've had luck with low contrast paper developed in dilute Selectol Soft, sometimes alternating with a water bath. I imagine making lower contrast copy negatives would also yield good results. Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, April 29, 2000.

If you do them yourself or have someone else do them, I would suggest Azo paper F2. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, April 30, 2000.

I second the thought that these images must be handled with the utmost in care and are irreplaceable. Go to George Tice's website and ask this question. Years ago the Smithsonion wanted to print Matthew Brady's negatives from the civil war and approached Tice to do it. George was extremely leery of handling these priceless glass negatives, but he spent a considerable time in Washington teaching the Smithsonion people how to faithfully reproduce these images. I haven't been on George's web site in a while, but it should be available. Fred

-- fred (, April 30, 2000.

I have a professional friend who has made many prints from old negatives, including glass plate negatives. Contact Eric Beggs at

-- (, May 01, 2000.

This may seem naive, but wouldn't it be safe to put them on a negative scanner? I would think that putting them on a flat glass will not subject the plates to any tension that might break them, and I reckon a scanner wouldn't have too much of a problem to handle the contrast range, would it? I know this almost sounds like a sacrilege, and personally I don't like digital printing (whence my igrnorance), but it might be a workable, affordable and safe solution.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, May 02, 2000.

If you print them yourself, contact printing them will probably yield the best results. Use GENTLE pressure when placing the negative on the photographic paper as well as when you place a piece of glass on top to weigh the negative/paper down. You may be lucky and find that the weight of the glass is enough to hold the paper flat.

If you choose to enlarge them, I have had success with old glass plates by using the bottom half of a glass negative carrier, and laying the plate on the glass. This assumes that the negative carrier is at least as big or bigger than the plate.

-- Terrence Brennan (, May 02, 2000.

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