35mm Ansco Color Slides, 1947-1948

I found a few undated 35mm color slides tucked away between all the negative boxes and sleeves.

I was at first skeptical about the contents, without any written data on them. Turns out that Joel packed the 35mm camera with him when he went out with the larger Graflex Press cameras.

In this case, there are parallel B&W images we’ve seen already in previous blog posts, connecting these very faded color images to a definite time period.

Ansco Color Slides started their existence in 1938, as an effort between Agfa (German company) and Scoville (US Company). They used a different development process than Kodachrome, but the fading was a problem for long term storage. Since Ansco Color Slides were half the cost, of Kodachromes, no wonder that Joel had to try this product early on.

Still, with some work, one can revive most of the color.

The first images in the very first box I scanned, are clearly Stanford University. Joel was there at some point in 1947-1948.

Stanford University, 1947-1948, 35mm Ansco Color Slide
Stanford University, 1947-1948, 35mm Ansco Color Slide
Bridge to be determined, most likely San Mateo Bridge just after 1961.

The Bay Area bridge between Oakland and San Francisco was taken into service in 1936, few months before the Golden Gate bridge opened. The Dumbarton Bridge (1984) and the San Mateo Bridge (1961) opened much later. The bridge in above image is either San Mateo Bridge shortly after opening, or the Bay Bridge with Oakland hills at the horizon.

Next slide is most likely at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. Joel walked around there late December 1947.

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, Dec 1947, Ansco Color Slide

Next image reminds me of the photo trip Joel did with his artist aunt Amy Pahl to the Calaveras Reservoir circa June 1947.

East Bay Hills, remnants of a shack, Alameda County, circa June 1947

Next 3 color slides are photographed during a sunset in the Delta. These maybe very well photographed at the conclusion of the Terminous Island Boxcar City photoshoot. Also in 1947, but I’m pretty sure Joel did more than one shoot in the area.

It was easy to sequence these images in the proper order, there’s a distinct shift in the sun’s position, and it does appear Joel is moving at the same.

Delta Sunset, Mount Diablo in the background, 1947-1948
Delta Sunset, Mount Diablo in the background, 1947-1948
Delta Sunset, Mount Diablo in the background, 1947-1948

We find these young women from a Santa Cruz shoot. See the #48 box of negatives, 1948, blog post for visual references.

Santa Cruz, 1948
Santa Cruz, 1948

In that same #48 box of negatives, we found a few parade related images, but we can’t be sure these are from the same parade as of yet.

Tokay float, Parade, unknown time frame
Baton Twirling in the street, 1947

The B&W images of the girl in the above color slide can be found in the blog post covering #29 of negatives from 1947.

The image though that allowed to focus on a time frame, is the Poultry Fire at the Sperry Mill building on July 24, 1947.

This slide was badly faded and after some digital filtering, I was able to distinguish the fire trucks and the building structure in question.

Poultry Fire, image recovery, first step, July 24, 1947

A bit more work made the text almost readable. There’s more that could be done for sure, but in these blog posts, I’m only interested in the documentation aspects, not necessarily the printing aspects with future archival.

Poultry Fire, image recovery, second step, July 24, 1947
The above image is W Weber Avenue, looking West, July 24, 1947

There are three fire engines visible in the image above, although the one with ladder extended,is barely there. There’s a fourth truck little further down at the left side of Weber, all that can be seen is figment of the waterjet.

For the B&W images, and more about the story, see the blog post on the subject, with many more images referencing where these trucks actually are.

That dedicated blog post also has good images of the truck with ladder extended, and a good shot of the firefighters dousing the fire from the street.


There are a few more of these boxes with faded color slides from the late 1940’s to examine.

Cheers !

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