keeping your head down

c1907 British Enlarger

Toronto. Any enlarger I used was vertical in design. In fact, I never saw a horizontal enlarger until I visited the late Larry Boccioletti, one of the founders of this society. At the time, Larry was looking for an old vacuum to operate his vacuum easel used with a horizontal enlarger.

I happened to have an old British GE model vacuum that worked. Years earlier, my grandfather had swapped it for a bottle of rye whiskey (I have forgotten why I even needed a vacuum back then).

The upper left image is courtesy  of the long dormant WPCA. The two last reprints,  annotated with dates, were from old catalogues and covered enlargers -the reprints are  available free as pdf files to all PHSC members. The enlargers shown dated from their earliest catalogue appearances in the 1800s into the early 1900s. The two pdf files like the previous five were sent out to all current members with an email address. (If you did NOT get copies, please email me at and I will send you them after verification of your membership.)

Not YET a member? well, for heaven’s sake! Grab your plastic and register via PayPal on the upper right of this page (you do not need a PayPal account. We will pay the small fee charged)! Of course, you can donate to the society the same way via PayPal, or by our Canada Helps entry on the link below the PAY NOW button.

Looking at the catalogue illustrations, I can see that most of the early enlargers were massive horizontal beasts, suggesting they evolved from projectors. In the 20th century, sensitive media had shrunk in size and vertical enlargers took over the majority of market share. This was simply accelerated by the minicam revolution in the 1930s which made enlarging essential, not an option.

This entry was posted in history and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.