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KODACHROME SLIDE DATING GUIDE
Kodachrome was first made in 8mm movie film size in Spring 1936. Kodachrome film in 35mm and 828 Bantam size was introduced in August or September 1936. Early Kodachrome processing was unstable. This example was taken on December 25, 1938 and has turned red. The processing was changed in early 1939, and images processed after then enjoy the best permanence of any color film made.
Kodachrome was introduced in professional sizes September 1938. 2.25 x 3.25", 3.25 x 4.25", 4x5", 5x7", 8x10" & 11x14". Sheet film sizes were discontuned in April 1951.
At first, the processed film was not mounted by Kodak, photographers were expected to mount their own film. Kodak introduced a projector for them in February 1937, and Kodak glass slide mounts were introduced in April 1937. The above example is typical for do-it-yourself glass mounting. Pressboard mounts were announced on February 1939 as being standard on all processing effective April 1, 1939. Some users continued to use the Kodak glass mounts for focus stabiity during projection, the heat of the bulb would cause slides in cardboard mounts to expand and the projectionist would have to continually readjust focus. This practice continued until autofocus projectors became widely available. Another benefit of the Kodak glass mounts was extra protection from damage in handling, a practice which continued until plastic slide mounts with anti-newton ring glass were introduced.
Kodachrome pressboard mounts
Original "Kodachrome" with stamped number (many examples known without number) April 1939 - May 1949
Early Kodachrome made in the first few years of production used the date code symbols of Kodak movie film. This aerial view of Olympia, Washington was taken in 1940. The two squares on the top film edge are the date code.
Click here to see Kodak film date codes.
"Kodachrome / Transparency" & stamped number May 1949 -May 1952
"Kodachrome / Transparency" & inked number May 1952 - Aug 1955
"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" & inked number Aug 1955 - July 57
This was made because other labs began offering Kodachrome processing, which previously had only been done by EK.
"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" inked number, stamped date May 58 - Jul 1958
"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" inked number, stamped date June 58 - Sept 61 (Note stamp is adjacent to and below "Made In USA" it is hard to see on this scan.)
MOST LATER SLIDE MOUNTS HAVE IMPRINTED DATES, SO LATER ONES ARE NOT LISTED ON THIS PAGE.
"Consent Decree Kodachrome" after June 1954
Kodak did all processing on Kodachrome until courts decreed it a monopoly. Initially, Kodak sold the film and processing together and the customer paid for both when they bought the film. After the decision, Kodachrome was sold as film and processing could be done by independent labratories or by Kodak. After this date, Kodachromes processed by Kodak say so on the mount.
"Kodachrome / Transparency / View From Other Side" stamped number, unknown origin, 1950s
"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Drewry Photocolor" inked number, no date. Note color is actually pink, not red.
"Kodachrome / Transparency" on white mount from unknown processor ca. 1958
"Kodachrome / Transparency/ Processed By / Technicolor" on grey mount, ca.1958
"Kodachrome / Transparency/ Processed By / Technicolor" on white mount, inked number, stamped date, ca.1961
I have collected Kodachrome slides for about fifteen years. I had been noting dated examples of the various Kodachrome mounts. Recently thousands of Kodachrome slides taken by a EK manager arrived. The photographer had individually noted the date of exposure of each image, and his film was usually processed within a month of exposure. His career lasted from 1942 through the late 1960s. This archive presented an outstanding example of dated examples spaced within days or weeks, processed by EK, for a regional EK manager.
Click here to go to Ansco Color and Anscochrome page.
Click here for Kodak's recommendations for cleaning Kodachrome.
Click here to see a dating guide for Kodak film edge marking.
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