Thursday, November 1, 2012

I also love vintage motorbikes & cars

and photographs, and postcards. So, this blog is changing tack. It all started with me acquiring a couple of negatives of my grandfather and grandmother on a motorcycle. I printed them in the old fashioned way and recently photographed the prints with a digital camera. I don't know what the bike is except that it's belt drive, has acetylene lights and Premier on the crankcase.
Not long after getting the negs, I bought a BSA B18 (lovely bike - I miss it!), so the motorbike aspect is obviously inherited. The photo above was taken sometime in the 1920s. Just lately, I bought a scanner (an Epson v600) to scan my old negs and trannies, and my postcard collection. This unfortunately has lead me to scout out more photos and postcards to scan - an expensive operation! My three latest acquisitions are this 1900 De Dion Bouton vis a vis car, scanned from a tiny faded photo - it's quite amazing what detail some of these old photos hold, this one was only 8x8cms - and what a great scanner the v600 is (if your budget won't reach the next one up). Written on the back is August 1900 (in French).
Next was this Unic taxi with chauffeur, easy to identify as Unic is written on the wheel hubs. I've been scouring the internet for tips on removing the silvering from old photos - one was using silver polish. As this wasn't a particularly rare card, I gave it a try - it works wonders! You do have to be careful not to leave any smears as they show up badly in the scans. It doesn't seem to have done any short term damage though I'm not sure I'd use this method on a valuable photo, and I did rinse it afterwards (after all, photos are meant to be wet at some point in their lives). And of course, it's not that simple, there's still an enormous amount of retouching to do afterwards.
The third car I haven't managed to identify - I thought at first it was a Darracq but it appears to be something else. I'm a bit suspicious of the people in the photo, as they seem to crop up in various combinations in other cars. None of the others have the driver with the lovely moustache though. I have no doubt about the age of the photo though, probably around 1907-10, and perhaps the variations I've found were just photographers license. It certainly appears to be the French countryside.
Any identification help or corrections gratefully received!


  1. what wonderful old photographs! i have a thing for cars...especially vintage ones. :)

  2. Thanks, they're wonderful, aren't they! Oh the nostalgia :)