Velox Demonstrations

Y#1

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: This great card is one that almost got away – not just at auction, but due to a prolonged detour through the mysteries of the US Post Office. I was greatly relieved when it arrived safely on my doorsteps after a nail biter of a week or so. (The eBay seller, lovesoldthingstoo, was wonderful and was ready to refund me when it showed up about ten days late and we both cheered!) Anyway, it landed safely in my hands and I must say I don’t have anything else remotely like it.

Not only does it have these wonderful bunch of kittens romping among photography equipment (two of my favorite things in the world), but it is an ad for the very Velox paper photo postcard were printed on!  And to think, on May 6 and May 7, 1907 you could go to the Chas. Kuhn Company at 500 Fulton Street and get a demonstration. Man, I would have been there with bells on! (I wonder if the kittens were working that day.)

This card was sent to Miss Anna Kuhn (a relative we will assume) in Woodstown, NJ on September 2, 1907. Brooklyn, NY is printed in pencil at the bottom and T.H. Tuohy in script, the same hand as addressed the back, at the bottom.

I was very entertained to learn that the Chas. Kuhn Company of Brooklyn had an exhibition space on the second floor. It can be found under listings of artist exhibition bios of the day. It is also mentioned in the context of photo suppliers of the day. One of the places to see and be seen in the Brooklyn of the teens.

Although photo postcards date back further, Kodak’s introduction of Velox paper in 1902 – the ability to print an negative right onto a ready postcard – is the beginning of the form’s real popularity. Collector’s Weekly has a handy history of real photo postcards, found at Real Photo Postcards, and they mention the Kodak 3A folding camera that was made for use with this film. Priced at $20 it was a princely sum – but very appealing either to wealthy amateurs or, more likely, those setting up shop as itinerant photographers. Suddenly everyone was a photographer and your blogger’s future as a collector crystalized decades before her birth. The format was available at least into the 1970’s, but I could not find a definitive end date for production. The postcards will bring endless pleasure.

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2 thoughts on “Velox Demonstrations

  1. This is something I missed! When I was a kid we could buy little packs of light sensitive paper packed along with little negatives of simple subjects. You clamped them together in a little holder and set them out in the sun, and out would come a little paper photo. But there was no fixative, and the photo would soon turn black. This Velox paper was obviously more advanced, but do I understand you could make the paper prints yourself? What equipment was needed? This really interesting, considering the 1907 date!

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    • Kim says he remembers the same toy photos as you! He remembers doing one of a bust of an Indian chief. How frustrating though!

      I spoke to someone who specialized in early process photos a ways back who told me that there were cameras for this purpose that were traveling rigs set up to dunk the paper in hypo on the spot. I have never seen such a rig and have looked online for more info. Still, there must be something in it because some of the early ones were done in such far flung places you figure that much like tintypes at fairs there must have been a quick fix.

      Look for the Dwight Frye entry for today!

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