Hundred Year Old Advice About How to Avoid Double Exposures

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, August 14, 1913: Nothing much doing.

Caption: Putting in a new roll of film.  Source: Practical Suggestions Regarding the Selection and Use of Photographic Equipment by Austin (1910)

Caption: Putting in a new roll of film. Source: Practical Suggestions Regarding the Selection and Use of Photographic Equipment by Austin Hanks (1910)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The previous day Grandma wrote that she initiated her new camera by taking two photos at the Sunday School picnic.

I found a hundred-year-old book called Practical Suggestions Regarding the Selection and Use of a Photographic Equipment. It has lots of advice that brought back vague memories of a camera we had when I was a child.

For example, it explained how to avoid double exposures:

One thing to do after making each exposure is to turn the film to the next number. Make this a positive habit. Cultivate yourself and it will be worthwhile. Upon beginning to use a Kodak, if you will constantly remember that the first thing to do after each is to turn the film, you will become accustomed to doing so and in time will do it intuitively and will no long have to think about it. This will mean no double exposures (two exposures on the same film).

10 Responses

  1. Always interesting, these ‘nothing much doing’ statements! I find my aunt wrote ‘nothing much happened’ when her expectations were high rather than when she was bored. So, as soon as WW2 broke out and she was expecting bombings and complete pandemonium, she wrote ‘nothing much happened’ quite a lot. And before that in the lead up to her sister’s wedding in August 1939, when they were all decorating the house and fetching bridesmaid dresses and getting their hair done etc, Norah wrote ‘nothing much happened’. See I enjoy your blog, and appreciate your efforts to look behind the few words your granny shared in her diary.

    • Thanks for sharing the link to Norah’s Diaries. It’s really interesting how your aunt wrote that nothing much happened when a day failed to meet her expectations. Grandma may have had similar sentiments.

  2. Grandma certaintly didn’t stay excited about the picnic very long. Love the picture; it’s so cute!

  3. Oh yes, I remember those kinds of cameras. Now I have to study the instructions for days before feeling confident enough to even click.

  4. Yes, I remember double exposures :) Annie

  5. I remember double exposures! I used to absolutely hate it when I went to pick up a roll of film I had dropped off to be developed, and discovered that most of the pictures I’d taken were either blurry or didn’t have enough light.
    One of the things I love about today’s digital cameras is that you don’t have to worry about film! I remember having to count the pictures I’d taken, trying to save them because there were only so many on each film cartridge. Now we can see them as soon as their taken, delete the ones that didn’t turn out right, and have a chance to retake the photo. Wow! Btw, I’d love to see the photos your Grandma took while she had this camera!

  6. Now you have to have special software for double exposures. Too funny!

  7. Actually, some of those old double exposures might have turned out real cool. You could be more of an artist!

  8. Oh yes… I sure remember that and then the wonder of the cameras that moved on automatically :-D Do have a couple of rather groovy double exposures that mum too back in the 1950’s with the Brownie Box Camera…

  9. I love taking pictures, but I probably wouldn’t so much if I had to deal with expensive film.

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