Kodak Verichrome B&W film
from a May 1947 LIFE ad.

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar for sourcing the delightful Kodak advertisement of May 1947 featured in the May 12th, 1947 issue of that magazine.(Click on the icon at left to see the ad in full.)

When I was a youngster using a box camera, my dad bought my first roll of film – Kodak Verichrome black and white film. At the time, Verichrome was the only film you would buy for any Kodak camera. Until many years later Verichrome was orthochromatic – it was blind to reds so a little red window would show the frame number on the back of the camera. The frame number was stamped on back of the opaque paper that wrapped the film to keep out light. Verichrome was made and sold by Kodak from 1931 to 1956 as Verichrome Safety Film. It was first sold around 1907 on glass plates by a British company that Kodak bought in 1912. It was replaced by Verichrome Pan film.

The film was special as it had not one, but two emulsions. The film combined a fast and a slow emulsion in such a way that under exposed shots would look right on the fast emulsion and over exposed shots came out right on the slow emulsion. This strategy gave a higher percentage of printable images on a roll of film.

In fact, Verichrome was so good that the famous Kodak motto was subtly changed on Verichrome ads to say “You press the button and IT does the rest”.

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