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1880 -1910 photo negative re-touching frame

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Posted 4 years ago


(197 items)

Last Thursday night I went to the first night of a 3 day local estate auction held at the fire hall. I won some really great items like a Fanner 50 cap gun for $5, and a Pioneer PL-A450 turntable in minty condition with Shure cartridge for $1 and a few other carefully sniped items. The one thing I almost missed, because I actually paid up 3 times total, with intentions of leaving each time, but after getting in my car decided to go back in. I took a walk through and found this item and handed it to the runner and asked to put this up next. The auctioneer and all the pickers and runners didn't know how to present the piece, but some smarty pants old man in the crowd came up and told them something, then proceeded to bid against me, although I won it for $15, I was hoping to get it for less. I knew it had something to do with photography and the dovetailed wood and older spotty edged mirror let me know it had some age to it. Other than for photography I have no idea what this is called or what it is used for, but appears to be in excellent condition. Can anyone tell me more about this piece and what exactly it was used for?

Mystery Solved


  1. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks for the love walksoftly, any ideas what it is used for?
  2. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    As a conversation piece it worth the money!
    As a piece of fine woodwork, more!
    Love it!
  3. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks walks, I have a box of really old negatives in the attic, I was thinking it could be used to view them using the mirror and the sun.
  4. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    How did you know it was photo related?
  5. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thank you for the love Sarahoff
  6. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Walks, I examined it a while and that's was my best guess, then the guy in the crowd came up and told them the same thing I was thinking. I just wanted it, whatever it was or is, lol. I like it and don't even know what it is.
  7. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    That's seems like an affliction we all have to deal with:-))!!!
  8. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks for loving tony !!
  9. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    I'm with you on some sort of photography/viewing thingy. I like the negatives idea.
    I'm wondering how old it is...from the wood and style, I'd guess 30s?????
  10. filmnet filmnet, 4 years ago
    8/10 contact printer or larger, this used around 1900, neg were from 8/10 cameras.
    And for 2 or more neg's of shots of a machine to make a 18 by 20 print .Blue paper .
  11. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thank you for the loves czechman and vetraio50 !
  12. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    From an online sources, accuracy unknown????

    During the 19th century retouching was an important part of the photography process because the existing photographic plate technology could not register anything for the red and yellow ranges of the light spectrum. Since these colors would be white on the negative and thus black on the print, the print would not be a fair representation of the subject, particularly of the shades of human skin tones.
    Pencil, graphite, watercolor, paper mask and other materials were applied to the glass plate negative to compensate for the missing reds and oranges. To do this, the glass plate was held in place on the frosted glass panel of the retouching desk. Light from a lamp placed behind the desk was reflected by the mirror to the back of the negative. The cover with two black panels was used to cover the head of the retoucher and to prevent extraneous light coming to the negative.
  13. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks for the love and idea's AmberRose, I was thinking 1920-30's also, but I will trust filmnet's input, although still kinda stumped when researched.
  14. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Mystery Solved by Walksoftly, Thank You !!!!
  15. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Again, I might add. ;-))
  16. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
    This is definitely a negative retouching frame as noted by walksoftly. One was posted on CW 2 years ago:

    These date anywhere from the late 1880s to sometime after 1900.
  17. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thank you for helping filmnet
  18. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thank you rniederman for the love, link and confirmation, I was hoping you would see this since you specialize in antique camera's and equipment.
  19. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks for the loves Mani, blunderbuss2 and petey : ))
  20. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    rniederman, unfortunately after examining the one previously posted can you confirm mine is missing the long slide drawer that would hold the touch up utensils ?
  21. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
    There were a number of differing designs and all pretty much had drawers of one form or another. For example, an 1888 Anthony retouching desk (built as a center table) had a wide drawer the width of the platform. I would guess that yours is missing the sliding drawer based on my references. Yet all-in-all, your $15 price paid is very good as these typically sell in the range of $35 - $50.
  22. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I was worried rniederman would come along & tell me I was wrong..... breathing sigh of relief :-)
    One sold on ebay this spring for $78 it didn't have a desk either.
    Your instincts paid off Matty :-)
  23. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Walks, you are never, never, never wrong! Be wrong every once in awhile so we know you're mortal. ;-)
  24. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    @ B'buss, thats what I say to my wife, but she doesn't agree with me, she says she's the one that's always right :-)
    I'll do my best to screw a few up just for you.

    Mere Mortal
  25. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Thanks walks.
  26. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Thanks for the love BHock45 ~ aka SilverHawk, lol

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