Film


Introduction

Photographic Film in 1938

Orthochrome Film is disapperaing fast and panchromatic film is the new standard. Colour was the latest craze especially with the new subtractive Color film (e.g. Agfacolor Neu 1936).Yet color film, especially the new subtractive were pure luxury. To buy, develop and obtain colour prints costed a fortune.


Latvian Minox film

Latvian Minox film  production may have started already in 1938 an continued even after the Minox camera production was shut down (Dec 41/ Jan 42). The  annoucement in 1942 suggest that Minox film could still be ordered from VEF in Riga.  I assume that the production thus continued right until 1944. Latvian Minox films were wrapped in black paper and sold either individually in a little cardboard box or as a set of two contained within in a small film tin.  

Looking at old advertisements and camera reviews, mostly two films are noted, the 10/10 DIN and the 17/10 DIN. However, Minox films were also available in more film speeds. The 13/10 DIN film for example was also exported to the UK and advertised. In addition two other film choices may have existed in Latvia (only). These could be 15/10 and 20/10. However I have no definite proof yet that they really existed.

Single Film

PAN 10/10 DIN -single
PAN 13/10 DIN -single
PAN 17/10 DIN -single
x
x

Film tins

PAN 10/10 DIN -(Latvia)
PAN 13/10 DIN -(Latvia) PAN 17/10 DIN -(Latvia)
x
x
PAN 10/10 DIN -(USSR) PAN 13/10 DIN -(USSR) PAN 17/10 DIN -(USSR)
x
x
x
x
x
x


Latvian Minox film:

Minox Film
ASA
Weston
MCM 1939 (UK)
The Camera 1940 (USA)
PAN 10/10 DIN
6-8
5-6
similar to:
Agfa Isopan FF
similar to:
Agfa Finopan
PAN 13/10 DIN
16
12
not reviewed

not reviewed
PAN 17/10 DIN
32-40
24-32
similar to:
Agfa Isopan F
similar to:
Agfa Superpan


Film Development:

Minox Film
MCM 1939 (UK)
PAN 10/10 DIN

PAN 13/10 DIN

PAN 17/10 DIN
MCM-100 Developer (9 min)

MCM-100:

Meritol is no longer manufactured. Meritol was a proprietary Johnson developing agent, a compound of Paraphenylene-diamine (PPD) and catechol. The 16 g of Meritol can be replaced with 7 gm of PPD and 9 gm of catechol(Pyrocatechin).
Note: Photoformulary offers a modern version of MCM 100

But what film did they now contain?

VEF-film: VEF started their own photographic paper production in 1935. However I was unable to find any evidence that they also had the capacity to manufacture one or even three different photographic films. Agfa-film: In many sources AGFA is mentioned as a potential source. While Agfa made Panchromatic 10/10 and 17/10 DIN film, they made no 13/10 DIN film at all! This makes me think that Agfa was not the supplier. Other-film: Perutz (Germany) and Gevaert (Belgium) are potential suppliers. They are together with Agfa dominant players on the european continent and strong contenders. A very popular film maker in Latvia appears to be also the Italian Ferrania. Many camera shops highlight that they stock Ferrania (see below)






American Minox film


These films are rare but described in two american refernce books relating to film development (1944/1946). The american Minox films were only described as A, B and C.
Marty Doctor recently found a Type C film with an expiry date of December 1941. That would indicate  the were made as early as Late 1940! During the introduction of the Minox in the USA the american magazines and ads mention and picture latvian 10/10 DIN and 17/10 DIN minox film.




Modern developing methods for prints and fine grain negatives, 1944/1946


Minox film pack leaflet ca.1948

The amercian films may have gained hugely in significance when the supply of latvian films had dried up in 1940/41. Soon they would have been the only Minox film around. That explains why the later  film development guides of 1944/1946 only refer to to Type A, B, and C film (see below)
. Potentially the amercian minox films were made right until 1949. So were these re-loaded? or spooled into new cassettes? The box refers to US Patent 2,218,966 granted 22 October 1940. This is the patent covering the minox film cassette. As the Minox IPs were transferred from Latvia by VEF director Teodors Vitols to Minox Inc, they may have indeed made cassettes locally. 




American Minox film, Type A, Type B, and Type C

Type A (box) - 100 Weston
Type B (box) - 50 Weston
Type C (box) -24/26 Weston
blue
x
x
x
green
red
Type A (round tin) - 100 Weston
Type A (round tin) - 50 Weston Type A (round tin) - 24 Weston
blue
x
x
x
green
red

Film development:

Minox Film
Speed
Modern Developing Methods (1946)
Source 2
Source 3
Type A - blue?
100 Weston / 125 ASA Edwal-12 (12min at 21C)
Edwal-20 (10min at 21C)


Type B - green
50 Weston / 64 ASA Edwal-12 (10min at 21C)
Edwal-20 (8min at 21C)


Type C - red
26 Weston /? ASA (1941)
24 Weston /32 ASA
Edwal-12 (10min at 21C)
Edwal-20 (8min at 21C)



Edwal-12: Water (900cc), Metol (6gm), Fine grain sulphite (90gm), Diamine-P [pure Paraphenylene-diamine] (10gm), Monazol [photographic glycin] (5gm), make up to 1000cc. Note: Photoformulary offers a modern version of Edwal 12

Edwal-20: Water (900cc), Gradol (5gm), Fine grain sulphite (90gm), Diamine-P [pure Paraphenylene-diamine] (10gm), Monazol [photographic glycin] (5gm), make up to 1000cc. Note: You may substitute Gradol with p-aminophenol hydrochloride use 0.9X of the amount 

But what film did they contain?


Kodak: The Ministrty of Supplies in England contacted Kodak during the war to source new stock of Minox film. This makes me think that these Type A, B, and C films may all contain Kodak film. Kodak produced :
for the consumer market. In addition they had high-resolution document films such as Microfile (4/2.5 Weston) used in the V-Mail (photographing letters and sending overseas) and Ultra-high-resolution Aerial Reconnaissance films. Looking at the Minox A,B and C film speeds they  may have only spooled their normal consumer films into these cassettes.


Agfa-Ansco: Ansco was one of the oldest photographic companies in the US. It later became a daughter company of the german Agfa and in December 1941 the U.S. government took control after they declared war on Germany. Unfortunately, no film or paper was from then on available for the amateur market. All production was directed to the government. (Switch from 24 Weston to 26 Weston due to switch from Agfa-Ansco to Kodak?)

However, the Minox film pack leaflet suggest Agfa-Ansco as the film source



Minox film pack leaflet ca.1948


Candidate film sourced for the American Minox film:

Minox film
Weston *
ASA
DIN
Agfa-Ansco
DuPontKodak
Type A -(blue?)
100
125
ca 21-23/10
Ultra-speed Pan ?Plus-X
Type B - green
50/32
64
ca 19-20/10
Superpan Surpreme
Superior-2Super-XX
Type C - red
26/16 (1941)
24
?
32
?
ca 16-17/10
?
Finopan
?
Superior-1
?
Panatomic-X (Dec.1939)
* Daylight/Tungston (artifical) light





English Minox film

Between August 1939 and September 1940 only latvian made film was imported and sold in England. However on the 9th of September 1940, all Minox Ltd film supplies were wiped out in the Blitz and the bombing of its headquaters in King William street. The general manager Philip Avery already indicated in his letters that he had no idea how to obtain new film supplies from Latvia. Iwill try to find advertisements from Minox Ltd after Septmber 1940 to see if they provide some clues.
Ilford was a leading manufacturer of photographic films within the UK. They produced the fine-grain Selo FP2 (27 Scheiner ~ 17 DIN) and the faster HP2 (31 Scheiner ~21 DIN). In addition they also provided an excellent document copying film, the Selo Microneg (5 Scheiner Tungsten Light) as well as Ultra-high-resolution Aerial Reconnaissance films.

Thus making at least a decent 17DIN alternative using the FP2 would have been possible. Yet Charles Fraser-With efforts to source Minox films during the war for the Ministry of Supplies indicates that he had to contact the american Kodak company for help. Was it easier for the UK to import the american Minox film? Was it quicker and more cost effectly to obtain large quantities compared to recycling cassettes by hand or starting their own mass production in England?


Unbranded Minox film


There are somefilms which have been found together with VEF Minox cameras.
The have the old DIN film speed printed on them and look identical to the original pre-war film supply. These films could be either
The fraction (x/10) within the DIN number was only dropped in 1957 (e.g. 17/10 DIN -> 17 DIN) so many single e.g. 17/10 cartidges are sold as Riga items. Probably impossible to determine if they are or are not. Therefore the orginal wrapping or tin is vital in proving that it is actually a pre war film.

Single cassettes --- to my knowledge impossible to prove



Wrapped in cardboad paper
--- likely all post war (1948-1957)