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Newsletter for September -- October 1999

The first society devoted to the history of photography and the preservation of photo antiques

As our year begins, we are all saddened by the passing of Bill Fujimura, one of our founding members and a man of significant influence in photography. For those who could not attend Bill's memorial service, the following is the essence of the eulogy read by Rolf Fricke.

Bill Fujimura was a remarkable man with that rare combination of high intelligence and an unassuming demeanor. You never saw any manifestation of anger, grudges or ego. He was always compassionate, unselfish, helpful to those in need and an especially devoted family man.

Bill was completely at ease in two diverse cultures whose languages he wrote and spoke fluently. For camera historians his translation of the two volume definitive history of Japanese cameras from its original Japanese to English is an invaluable asset.

Born in the United States of Japanese parents, Bill was visiting relatives in Japan when WWII broke out and was forced to remain there for the duration. He was in the area of Hiroshima at the time the atom bomb was dropped.

Bill, along with Bill Doherty, former director of George Eastman House, and several other friends, Bill helped found the world's first photographic society with a primary emphasis on photographic history and development.

Bill was internationally known for his talents. Wolfgang Ort, retired manager of camera design in Stuttart, Germany, remembers him as, "refreshingly unbiased, fair, objective, and cooperative toward the ideas and designs from other Kodak companies."

Messages of condolences and praise of Bill include those from Mrs. Mayumi Moryama, Member of the Lower House of Parliament of Japan, President of the Japan Camera Museum, RIT's representative in Japan and Fumio Matsuda, a prominent photographer. Numerous graduates of the Institute of Photography at RIT sent regrets and expressed their appreciation for Bill's and Amy Fujimura's assistance and encouragement in their personal and professional lives.

A William Fujimura Scholarship Fund has been established at the University of Rochester. Contact the school or Rolf Fricke at (716) 342-8643 for details.

Things to Do...

1) Mark Photo History XI, October 20-22 on Your Year 2000 Calendar

2) Check to see if you have sent your Dues ($20) to:
Frank Calandra, Treasurer, 350 Witting Road, Webster, NY 14580-9009
3) Bring a guest to our next meeting at the Brighton Town Hall, 2300 Elmwood Avenue, 7:30pm

This Month's Mystery Question:
*Who was the inventor of the Kodak Autographic Camera?
* What did the name Autographic mean?
* Was it patented?
* How much was the inventor originally offered for the invention?
* How much did he finally get?


Last spring we covered the 3M Company's problems with their Ferrania film unit in Italy. Late summer brought another unexpected photographic related problem right here in Rochester. But before we get to that, a bit of history is in order.

As some will recall there was once a resident of Rochester named William J. Brown (1911-1978). Said to be an engineer genius, Brown began his technical career as a research engineer for Rochester's Taylor Instrument Company, famous for their thermometers and other measuring instruments. But Brown's heart was really in photography and using his technical skills, he designed and began manufacture of processing equipment for commercial photo finishing labs in a plant at 110 Lexington Avenue. He called his company Technifinish and apparently he also did some amateur processing. In his spare time he also ran Brown Radio Corporation which made 1000 watt radio transmitters to serve the growning market for small town radio stations. In 1941 both companies were moved to 641 Brown Street and again in 1943 to 38 Scio Street near downtown Rochester. In 1947, Technifinish became Kryptar and began manufacture of amateur black and white roll film. A plant on Saratoga Street also coated black and white print paper. Both oper ations were claimed to be up to full speed but how good sales were is unknown. What is known is that in the spring of 1948, a disastrous fire broke out over a weekend. Fueled by nitrate base materials, soon only a shell remained of the buildings. The exact cause of the fire was never known but was assumed to be from an overheated emulsion container, although rumors said otherwise.

In the spring of 1948 production resumed and construction began for a new film plant on Driving Park Avenue. Brown had arranged for the Curtis Publishing Company, publishers of the SATURDAY EVENING POST, America's leading weekly magazine, to assist in distribution of Kryptar film to newsstands and other places where magazines were sold. Mr. Brown knew a good distribution idea when he saw one. Unfortunately, serious emulsion problems arose and the whole operation went into bankruptcy in 1948. The Kryptar name would reappear on respooled war surplus film sold mail-order by East Coast photo dealers. It is not certain how or if, Brown was in any way connected. However, Brown apparently maintained his interest in photo finishing equipment and in other photographic items. He and a group of Rochester businessmen noting the growning poplarity of small 35mm cameras ask Chester Crumrine, an independent camera designer, to design a small 35mm camera. A company was formed to build the Winpro 35mm camera in Webster, NY. C ompact and looking somewhat like the popular Bolsey, the camera company's changing fortunes were mirrored in its changing names which included Webster Industries, Monroe Research and Zenith Film Corporation. Not a bad picture taker, the Winpro had one basic fault. It was made of easily molded but unstable Tenite plastic. Tenite, incidentally, was made by Eastman Chemical. The company survived under various owners until about 1953.

In 1955 Kodak signed the "consent degree" with the federal government. This decree required Kodak to stop including the cost of processing in the price of Kodachrome film. Kodad not only agreed to allow others to process Kodachrome film but for a one-time payment of $50,000, Kodak would help set up a Kodachrome processing plant and temporarily provide personnel to assure that it got up and running. It was a fortune maker waiting for the taking. And the first taker was one William J. Brown. To house his new venture, Brown leased an empty mill building in Brockport, NY, about 18 miles from Rochester. He built and installed his own machinery. He called his company Dynacolor.

But having a processing plant and having business were two different things. Photographers knew Kodak and Kodak processing. But Dynacolor? On some days there were nothing for Dynacolor workers to process.

Then came a part of the story your editor heard in Dallas, Texas, while interviewing Kodak salespeople about their training needs. One of the questions asked was for a low point in each salesman's career. One said his lowest point was a Thanksgiving-Christmas season when his territory had almost no Kodachrome processing. It seems that his largest photo finishing customer used William Brown's B & W processing machines. Around Thanksgiving a high volume machine made by Brown broke down and no one locally could fix it. A call to Brown brought the reply, "I'll be on the next plane." He was, and within a few hours of his arrival the plant was up and running.

The grateful customer asked what he owed. "Nothing," said Brown. "It was our machine and we stand behind it." "Well," said the grateful owner, "We want to do something for you." Brown replied, "Tell you what. I've got this new Kodachrome processing plant in Rochester. Send your film to me rather than to Kodak." Brown had hardly landed back in Rochester when bags of Kodachrome film from Texas began to arrive.

The work spread and all at once Brown's wholesale and mail-order Kodachrome and Ektachrome business was on a roll. There was just one problem. He needed money to operate and expand. A rumor, the origin of which was never determined, spread that Brown had been set to obtain a loan from a Chicago bank, but that somehow Kodak had blocked the deal. Determined that he had a gold mine in Brockport, Brown called all his friends. One of your editor's neighbors, who would retire very early from a career as a railroad engineer, got a call from his lawyer son-in-law who had received one of Brown's calls. My neighbor did not know what Brown said in his telephone conversation, but the son-in-law told him to get a loan on his house, borrow on his life insurance and use any other funds available to buy stock in Dynacolor. He did. The stock which had been virtually worthless in the low single digits began to rise quickly as the word spread. It zipped through the teens and steadily upward in the 20's. My neighbor said his ide a is to get rich, but not greedy. Within a few weeks the stock fell slightly and my neighbor bailed out, telling his relatives to do the same. The stock continued to fall but most stockholders held out for a rebound. Unfortunately, it finally leveled at close to the opening price.

Mr. Brown would later retire to Florida where he built a mansion, said to be exactly like the one he had in Pittsford, NY, complete with indoor swimming pool. For several years he wintered in Florida and summered in Rochester.

Dynacolor would later use the Lexington Avenue plant to produce Dynachrome film, supposedly based on expired Kodachrome patents. Later it would be purchased by another film maker who had dreams of amateur photographic glory-the 3M Company. 3M would close the plant several years later as losses mounted.

In the most recent latest twist in the tale is that closed 3M owned property was recently cited in a federal list of property with heavy chemical contamination. The actions required by this citation are yet to be resolved.

Part of this material is from: The Photographic Manufacturing Companies of Rochester New York, by Dr. Rudolf Kingslake, 1997. Available at the George Eastman House

Note: There are a dozens stories about Brown and perhaps you know one or more. If so, please share them with us.


On April 21, 1831, the Rochester Savings Bank was granted a charter, making it the sixth savings bank in New York Statte and the first west of the Hudson River. It opened as a window of the Bank of Rochester-on Saturday Evenings-to receive deposits and on Wednesday evening of each month "for females only". By 1850 the bank had moved twice and had selected a site at the corner of West Main and Fitzhugh Street, where they built a new building to serve Rochester's growing population of 46,000. The new bank opened on February 28, 1857. In 1874 the bank hired a new clerk, a Mr. George Eastman. His salary was $800 per year. Mr. Eastman rose to the position of assistant bookkeeper during his seven years at the bank before leaving to devote his full attention to the manufacture of photographic plates. Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 8-28-1999


Each issue we profile a collector, designer, writer, or other person who has made our hobby interesting. We invite you to send in your own biography.

Usually we try to keep our profiles to one page. This month, however, we asked Andy Davidhazy to not only tell us about himself but about one of his areas of expertise that is unique. His explanation may answer a "How do they do that?" question that many of us have. Andy is currently the Chairman of Rochester Institute of Technology's Imaging and Photographic Technology Department.

Hungarian by birth, I grew up in a small town on the Atlantic coast of Argentina during the period after WWII. In high schoolI was introduced to photography by a biology teacher who emphasized its application as a recording device for use with a microscope. I soon owned a simple 127 size reflex camera. I made a darkroom in a closet at home and by combining a negative of a flashlight beam reflected off a wall with a real scene of the town square and contact printing the combination I began creating, much to the consternation of friends and relatives, unlikely scenes of flying saucers over the town square. Later that year, I bought a camera I thought more suitable to someone with "advanced" knowledge--an 828 Coronet Cub that looked like a Leica to me. In 1957 my family moved to Boston, Mass. USA. I had "graduated" to an Agfa Solina 35mm camera and when I received an old folding camera from a family friend I decided to make an enlarger out of it. I had made improvised enlargers earlier using shoe boxes and similar nesting boxes but they were unwieldy and suffered from light leaks. This time I fitted a juice can over the back of the folding camera, put a lamp inside, and mounted it on a support whose position could be adjusted on a square wooden vertical post.

My decision in 1961 to enter the Photographic Science program at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was greatly influenced by MIT's Dr. Harold Edgerton, father of the strobe light. I was impressed by both the photographs and the man. I saw the connection between science and photography and it interested me. After completing my BFA, I went on to complete RIT's MFA program in Graphic Design. In one capacity or another I have been with the Rochester Institute of Technology ever since.

During my undergraduate years I worked as a photographic technician at an RIT lab under Dr. Kenneth C. D. Hickman. Dr. Hickman was a wonderful man, full of energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and generosity. He gave me interesting projects to work on and guided me in their successful completion. He encouraged me to publish and to present at professional society meetings and conferences. I have been doing that ever since!

While completing my last year of the BFA program, visiting instructor Eugene Tulchin (of Cooper Union) was unimpressed with my interest in sports photography. Tulchin threatened to expel me from the program unless I demonstrated some "creativity". Then I happened to see some Olympic sports pictures by George Silk in Life magazine. He had used a "modified" camera where the film moves past a slit, like in a photofinish camera. Experimenting with a Minolta camera I had modified, it wasn't long before I was able to almost duplicate Silk's images. Tulchin was so impressed by my "newly found creativity" that he became an enthusiastic supporter of my work. Some years later I did share the truth with him and we have been good friends ever since.

Starting from that time I've had an interest in this fairly specialized application of photography known generically as "strip" photography. There are several variations on the basic theme. What all of these have in common is that they move the film past a narrow slit located just in front of the film plane. Racetrack photofinish cameras use this method of photography to generate images that indisputably depict the order of finish of race participants; panoramic cameras capable of 360 degree horizontal coverage also accomplish this feat by "scanning the scene" through a narrow slit. Certain types of aerial mapping cameras, military ballistic cameras, and other cameras associated with unique applications, all use the same principle.

In the mid-1960's, I realized that I could apply "strip" cameras for peripheral photography, making possible thedepiction of an object's full outside surface. In peripheral photography the film in the camera is continually in motion past a narrow slit while the object in front rotates. In this way, the slit effectively "scans" the periphery of an object over time. This technique had already been extensively applied by archeological photography specialists since the late 1890's for the reproduction of designs drawn on ancient Greek vases and Mayan pottery. The automotive industry uses it to record the wear patterns of pistons.

As part of my MFA thesis I produced a small body of work based primarily on peripheral portraits. While all my early work was done with 35mm materials, later on I developed a camera using Polaroid "pack" type film and used it to conduct workshops and demonstrations at lectures and conferences nationwide. After being spun around on a small turntable and, hopefully, learning what peripheral photography is all about (in less than 5 minutes!) my subjects would see their unique and distorted portraits, usually laugh or smile at the unusual photograph and disappear with it. After taking thousands of these photographs I realized that nothing was left to show for it.

I refined the procedure and dubbed it the "Phoenix" process which allowed me to "rescue" the opaque and normally unusable paper negatives created in the Polaroid process for my records. This method consisted of rephotographing the Polaroid Type 667 paper negative as soon as possible with Polaroid's Polagraph 35mm film. Polagraph film, being transparent and high contrast, partially corrects for the fact that the original paper negative is opaque and low contrast. The fact that the film produces a positive image means that the original's tonal distribution is maintained so that the Polagraph copy can function as a negative, be placed in a standard enlarger and used to produce normal paper enlargements. As it is exposed to light, the paper negative exhibits some changes, the primary one a reversal of tonality called the "Sabattier" effect, sometimes also referred to as solarization.

If you want to read more about the methods used in creating these images, several articles about the peripheral technique as well as the Phoenix process are available off my web site. You can also see my general list of articles on the web which now number more than 30.

You'll find my home page at: http://www.rit.edu/~andpph


Fotoshop was typical of "camera row" in NYC following WWII. Their catalog pictured one of two locations and the picture looked far better than in real life. If you visited either store you were usually glad to leave the haphazard displays and surly clerks. However, their catalog wasn't bad. Its pages contained virtually every popular camera and accessory plus a generous array of junk that was almost as interesting. In the box camera dept. there was the Colonel "all-metal, camera", taking 12 bit 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" pictures with synchronized flash, all for just $7.95, tax included. The case was $1. On the same page was a Kodak Brownie Target for $5.18. Page after page pictured accessories from camera cases to precision clip-on range finders to the DeMornay-Budd Focusing Reflex Viewfinder. A Leica IIIc with Elmer 3.5 lens was $332.50 or the Winpro for $10.95. Want small--the Whittaker Micro 16, $29.50. Film $1, including processing. Color films 3/$1 10ex. The Marton Slide Projector for 2 x 2 slides $29.50. Do your own processing? The popular Federal, Model 250 enlarger was now $69 (Reg. $89) and a DeMornay-Budd Universal Drying Cabinet with sheet film rack a pricey $90. Roll your own 35mm cassettes? 100 fot of U.S. Government surplus Kodak Plus-X, Ansco Supreme, or DuPont Superior #2, $1.49. Or Gevaert 5" x 7" cut film, 3 dozen sheet box, was $3.30, now 50 cents. But sorry, the order blanks are all gone. Probably so has Fotoshop.


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is designed to "focus on things we want to change as well as things we want to save". And that's about all we know about the program except that there are Adult and Junior Divisions and that the entry period is between June 5, 1999 and April 30, 2000. Prizes range from $20.00 for the Adult Division Gold Prize to a "diploma" for seventy "Honorary Mention" awards. Junior Division prizes begin at $2000. Entry forms are available from http://www.unep-photo.com/ or FAX: +254-2-623927 Does anyone know any more about this very confusing contest? Our Fax was not answered.


A year ago we reported that Steve Jackel, president and CEO of Concord Camera had been replaced by Ira B. Lampert, "to turn the company around", according to Business Week magazine. At the time Concord, a maker/importer of inexpensive cameras and optical toys had a net income of $2.2 million. Last year it lost half a million. Now BW reports that Concord, ticker name: LENS, is going "way beyond the solid earnings it posted Aug. 26." The reason? Concord is "poised to make a digital camera developed by Hewlett-Packard," and also a "digital image-capture" product that can transmit pictures to a cell phone. The latter said to have been developed by a major European wireless-phone company. The HP camera could deliver pictures to its printers or a PC, thus producing more printer and ink business for HP but probably not much for Concord. The other digital imaging product uses radio waves to transmit to cell phones or to the NET. The glowing article says that Concord will "catapult" from a camera maker to a technology company according to soothsayers, Mercer, Broker, Buckman & Reid, which is promoting the stock. MBB&R projects Concord sales of $135 million, double the present.

The report sounds great but other statements in it may make the reader question some of the overall conclusions. For example: "Concord is the largest publicly traded manufacturer of disposable cameras in the world, supplying Eastman Kodak, Polaroid, Agfa-Gevaert, and Mattel's Fisher-Price unit. It is also private label supplier to Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Sears." Is this true, somewhat true, or wishful thinking of MBB&R?

Concord has an "interesting" history, although not necessary relevant to its current management. There is also, no mention in the item that the US International Trade Commission has entered an order barring the import of disposable cameras that infringe FUJI patents. This is especially aimed at "reloaders", many based in China, who refill single-use shells and do not pay royalties. Concord is apparently involved in this business using a number of different brand names. Does Concord pay FUJI royalties? Virtually no reloaders do or did, according to the news release by FUJI. Even at a nickel or so a throw, the FUJI suit could require a tidy sum to settle Concord's past oversights. (Note: Kodak as a 53% share of the US market for disposables, FUJI has about 17% and reloaders have about 10%. Kodak has always paid FUJI royalties on some single use camera patents.)


Last issue we questioned the creditability of the much advertised International Library of Photography photo contest. The ads appear in several fan magazines and our skeptical mind wondered if it was for real. Standley Zack has sent answers. Stan has entered their contests and found them to be both real and satisfying. Stan also has a good winning record in several photo contests including ones held by Peterson's PhotoGraphic magazine and local events. He likes to enter as much for the critques of his work as for the prizes, but of course it's nice to win something too.

Stan notes that ILP has a real address, phone numbers that are answered, E-Mail, etc. like any well run business today. The prizes awarded and a list of winners are supplied. While this year's winners have yet to appear on their Web site, those from last year are there. The winning pictures are published in a "coffee table" size book, and your photo is copyrighted. This is all within the guidelines of "Photography Contests: How to Enter, How TO WIN" a book by Linda Moser (Amphoto).

Stan was a semi-finalist and his picture was published in the "from of many" section of the book. He points out that International Library of Photography is a photo agency and as such is constantly in need of stock photos in certain categories. The contest is a good way to get them. Since the entrants send in their best work, the total prize money is a bargain to the company for the pictures they receive from entrants. The coffee table book acts effectively as a catalog. The book's price is not cheap but you can review it before buying and buying is not a criterion to winning. However, he does not praise the book highly. First, because it was published later than expected and it did compare well with other photographic publications. However, as promised, it was published. It's available to the public and Stan is happy.

On the question of honesty in print, Stan would like to see some pressure put on "Popular Photography" and their list of "Approved Mail-Order Dealers". He has in mind a particular dealer that he found far less than satisfactory. We can only say that having discussed this topic with many people in the industry, including Herbert Keppler and various other magazine editors and publishers, don't count on great reform. At least something is better than nothing. Mail-order problems in the photography "good ole days" of the fifties, sixties and early seventies were far worse and there was no attempt at reform. Which leads us to....


Let's help Stan out. For our next month's issue please tell us about your stories of success and /or frustration with Mail-Order photo equipment buying. Be sure to include how you solved the problem-if you did. Send to: Joe Bailey, 191 Weymouth, Rochester, NY 14625


Assume for a moment that you feel a part, perhaps a substantial part, of your retirement nest egg should be in quality (meaning valuable) photographic prints, postcards, etc. "The NY Times" estimates that 10-40% of all works by significant artists, including photographs are bogus. Thomas Robinson writing in the "Cascade Panorama", newsletter of the Cascade PHS, adds fake "old" photo postcards. Tom has found some fake photo postcards rubber stamped "Azo" on the back. While laughable to anyone knowledgeable about photographic papers, it's apparently "authentic" enough to many buyers. Our readers would probably be less gullible about print paper but if you haven't experienced the "artistic jungle", of art galleries, art dealers, art auctions, etc, you might not trust your own judgement. But if not yourself, who can you trust? Answer: an expert. But how do you know a good one if you meet one? To help answer this question the NYT has a list of eight suggested questions to ask someone who presents themselves as being a "qualified" expert in any field of art.

Let's start with reality. Any form of "art" is a risky invenstment-including that engraved stock certificate from your favorite company you have framed over your safe. Like stock market investing, the value of artwork is an imperfect "science", prone to changing with the winds and all too often, hype from the medial. Add the fact that modern science in the form of digital film output recorders can produce new negatives from old pictures in whatever "condition" you want. Considering all that, ask these questions of your potential advisor:

1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BUSINESS? If less than 10 years they have never seen a down cycle in the art world. What do they have recommended as recession-resistant and why?

2. WHAT DO YOU OWN THAT HAS GONE UP IN VALUE? Many advisors contend that they don't buy for investment. But if they are really plugged into the art world some of their holding should be on the rise, whether bought as an investment or not.

3. HOW DO YOU RESEARCH ARTWORK? The advisor should have a research approach that can: find who previously owned works that interest you; if photos, how many prints were made and who owns them, were the negatives destroyed? Plus other detailed information.

4. DO YOU HAVE AN INVENTORY OF ART FOR SALE? Those who do are just dealers without a gallery.

5. SHOULD I BUY AT AUCTION? An advisor should take you to an auction and explain what is going on and why. He should help you evaluate the pros and cons of items that interest you.

6. WHAT IS THE PRICIEST PURCHASE YOU HAVE EVER MADE? How did he determine the value?

7. DO YOU DEAL WITH ONE OR TWO DEALERS REGULARLY? Some advisors become too close to a handful of dealers. This can result in cookie-cutter collections or behind--your--back deals.

8. CAN I PAY THE DEALER DIRECTLY FOR THE ARTWORK YOU RECOMMEND? Pay the dealer and advisor separately. Talk to several dealers, and especially not only the ones with whom the advisor has financial dealings.


Stereo World, one of the best edited and most interesting journals around is again taking insert ads, sheets inserted into the magazine rather than published within. Their membership covers all 50 states and 30 countries. An 8.5" x 11" insert for $89.00 sounds like a bargin. Contact Jeffrey Kraus, 102 Dubois Road, New Paltz, NY 12561

In May Kodak (China) Company began making medical x-ray film in Shantou, China.

What did consumers rank as the top three brands in overall quality in the USA? Answer: According to Total Research Corp: Crayola Crayons, Sears Craftsman tools and Kodak film. What did you expect?


Henry J. Gaisman invented the Autographic back for folding Kodak cameras. He was also the inventor of the Autostop razor which allowed a permanent single edge razor, about the size of a Gillette razor, to be sharpened before every shave. This saved the cost of the new throw-away Gillette blades and inconvenience of having to hand-sharpen a straight razor.

> The word Autographic means "self recording".

> Not convinced that it would work, the US Patent Office refused a patent.

> George Eastman offered Gaisman $10,000 for an option on the invention and choice of either lifetime royalties or a half-million dollars to be received when the camera was ready for sale. Not being quite sure of the future, Mr. Gaisman took $300,000 cash. His relatives are probably still unhappy.
From: Collins, "The Story of Kodak"

The Photographic Historical Society Newsletter

is published by America’s oldest photographic historical group
In January, March, May, September and November
Materials in this publication are copyrighted
Permission to reprint is granted to other historical groups if credited to TPHS
Some authors may retain copyright. If so noted, permission to reprint must be obtained.
Editor: Joe A. Bailey
Newsletter Address: 191 Weymouth Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14625 (716) 381-5507
Membership Dues are $20 per year. Send Membership applications with check to:
Frank Calandra, Treasurer
The Photographic Historical Society, 350 Witting Road, Webster, N.Y. 14580-9009

You are reader number since June 16, 1997
The counter was at 1100 on May 30, 1999

SPAS programs at RIT IPT program at RIT This page is hosted by the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Imaging and Photographic Technology Department. For printed information about the School CLICK HERE! and fill out the form on that page. This page is coordinated by Prof. Andrew Davidhazy.