Drewry Photocolor Slides, 1947


Nineteen 35mm slides in a yellow/blue plastic box, prominently labeled “Drewry Photocolor on the 2” square cardboard frames.

I had no reference for the photo processing house.

So I did some online sleuthing to see if I could learn more, and was able to distill following blurb from the obituary for William Wallace Drewry Jr. in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

“After graduating at Princeton in 1932, Bill devote his entire business life to the photography industry, and especially to the development of color photo-finishing. His first 14 years were spent at Agfa Ansco Corporation, with its headquarters in Binghamton, NY, where he rose to be assistant general sales manager in charge of merchandising and developing new products.

In 1945, he moved with his family to southern California and started the Drewry Photocolor Corporation in Glendale. He established two laboratories in California and two distribution offices. One in Chicago and one in Dallas. Bill and his company played a substantial role in the steady and rapid growth of color photography.”

The 1945 date above, places these slides somewhat in time. Some of the subjects allow us to date this box to the 1947 time frame again. This equally confirms that Joel likes to try new things out.

The problem with non-Kodachrome color slides that are circa 75 years old, is the sometimes severe color fading to orange, red or pink. This leaves you with the choice to convert to B&W or attempt to retrieve color through digital processing with a lot of error and trial. To complicate matters, no two slides fade the same.

Faded Color Slide after scan.
After some basis and not-so-basic HDR corrections

It takes few basic curve corrections with some HDR processing to pull the information out, one can see details, that were on first sight lost in the shadows.

The Clyde Beatty Circus images place these slides in the 1947 range. We have seen parallel B&W images in previous blog posts tying one and other together.

Clyde Beatty Circus, Main Entrance, May 1947, Stockton
Clyde Beatty Circus Headquarters (?), May 1947, Stockton
Popcorn stand with clear reference to Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton
Iced Juice and snacks, Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton
Cotton Candy Stand, #15 server, prominent Coca Cola patch, Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton
Cotton Candy Stand, behind the counter, Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton
Bactrian Camel, Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton
The elephants, Clyde Beatty Circus, May 1947, Stockton (near the Rural Cemetery)

It should be clear that the ability to pull color back out, seems to depend on many factors out of our control.

The next few slides fare better, and one wonders if this processing order was for two 12 shot color film canisters. Throughout these slides, there are clearly two quality levels, just a thought to ponder.

Golden Gate Bridge, from the Coastal Road area, circa 1947
Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End or China Beach area, circa 1947

Joel didn’t take any chances and made sure he had this shot for sure. Scanning and processing for both slides was identical, yet, there’s a significant color difference.

Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End or China Beach area, circa 1947

The rest of the Drewry Photocolor processed slides are below. They are most likely Pahl family members (Jack Pahl with son John ?) I’ll leave these here for those interested in genealogy or location research.

Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947, most likely Jack Pahl with son John
Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947

The above image gives away that this go kart fun is on a parking lot of most likely a school.

Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947
Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947
Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947

Hard to rime the color fading from above slide with the still decent recovery from the slide below, all using the same digital tools.

Go Kart racing fun, circa 1947

This little exercise in color recovery will prove useful for the next two Ansco Color Slide boxes, the company where William Wallace Drewry was working at before starting his own color processing facilities in Glendale, CA.

Cheers !

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