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Pumphrey's Lifting Films | Sensitive materials | Other | Other

1886-1890. A. Pumphrey was also a camera maker, but in the absence of a camera by him, I am accepting these films as an example of his work until one turns up. The label on the original brown paper packaging, tied up with string, reads: "Doz. of Pumphrey's Lifting Films for Negatives. A.Pumphrey, Manufacturer, Stanhope Street, Birmingham. Provisionally patented. Ready to be used in any camera. One twentieth the weight of glass when finished." It adds further: "Detailed particulars are enclosed" but I am not about to open the 128 year old sealed package to see what those particulars may be. A.Pumphrey was at the Stanhope Street address from 1886 to 1890, when he was lost sight of as far as records are concerned. These negative materials are an example of what early photographers were prepared to go through in pursuit of their hobby or profession; these films were alleged to be capable of being "treated in all respects as a plate", but were on a paper base that after development had to be first allowed to dry, then pasted onto thick card and again allowed to dry, then varnished and again allowed to dry, and the negative then lifted off the backing paper, using a knife, before it could be printed. Instant photography, it was not.

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