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This box has been sitting in my office for years now and as I slowly pack my office up, the box has been making its presence known more and more. This is one of those task that I didn’t want to undertake, but knew eventually I would have to. I’ve referred to it before as the Jigsaw Puzzle Box. It contains a lot of broken glass plate negatives.

They were originally laying one on top another. No boxes or protective sleeves. I sat them on their side to try to stop some of the damage. These plates are heavy and the weight of being stacked is enough to crush themselves.

So let’s get started on cleaning and scanning. I pulled out the more intact ones first, but already there was a problem – not only were most of these suffering from severe silvering, from being improperly stored, this one was yellow (Under or over exposed when taken maybe?)

I scanned it anyway because there is something about this photo – The second Loch Raven Dam being built, showing an arched walkway through the base of the dam. A couple years ago I was told that I would be able to go on an inspection tour of the inside of the dam – I guess they forgot me…

A couple more intact plates, not found in previous collections of building the 1915 dam. I like this one, below, looking downstream of the Gunpowder River. A locomotive riding the spur track in the distance and a person on the trestle.

A view looking upstream from the cofferdam. 

Although there was a lot of silvering, after some work in Photoshop Elements, I was fortunate enough to make them worth saving. Another view downstream. The old 1880s gatehouse in background. Notice the wood pedestal for the valve operator. 

I wish I would have found this one years ago. This photo is signed by the engineer, Walter Lee and the plate itself is signed by the photographer – Waldeck.

With this next one, the puzzle pieces start falling apart. The photographer would take photographs and drawings, mount them on a board and then photograph the photographs. Thank God for the digital age!

Inside the photographers studio – more like an onsite shed at the construction site – 1920s.

Some of the shed photo plates were not only broken, but were over exposed.

Using my software I was able to enhance the above photo enough, using the ‘Equalize’ button, to bring out the drawing. In this case it is the Balancing Reservoir at Cromwell Park.

Next up more photos being photographed. Two of my favorites on this plate – The original photo of the town of Warren before flooding (A lot of historical societies use this photo and don’t give credit to the City for using it. I guess because it has been used so many times in various newsletters and publications, they consider it public domain) And I like the Paper Mill Bridge with the covered bridge underneath. 

This next one threw me for a loop! A Cathedral to Water? Not sure what this is of?

I finally hit the bottom of the box, nothing but pieces. Some large ones and then many small pieces.

I scanned them just in case some day, some one can use modern technology to put the pieces together, where they belong! (I know, the tech exists, maybe something for someone to do later!)

So I am wrapping up the history and placing in it storage. Hopefully it will be around in 100 more years. Who knows. I have done about as much as I could with what I have been given.

 

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