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Early Photographic Formats and Processes in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical Context

Panoramic images date to shortly after the invention of photography itself, and tend to use the processes in vogue at the time; early panoramas, for example, were made by placing two or more daguerreotype plates side-by-side.

By the late nineteenth century, cameras specifically designed to produce panoramas were being manufactured for the amateur photographer. The first mass-produced American panoramic camera, the Al-Vista, was introduced in 1898; a year later, Eastman Kodak introduced the #4 Kodak Panoram panoramic camera. Most mass market panoramic cameras worked on the "swing-lens principle" - the lens of the camera rotated to capture the image, while the film remained stationary. Mass-produced panoramic cameras made relatively small panoramas (twelve inches long or less), used roll film, and did not require a tripod. A later model, the Cirkut camera - first manufactured by Rochester Panoramic Camera Company, and later purchased and manufactured by Eastman Kodak - was patented in 1904 and first sold in 1905. The Cirkut was known as a "full rotation" panoramic camera because both the camera and the film rotated on a special tripod to create panoramas; it used large format film, and was capable of producing a 360-degree photograph measuring up to 20 feet long.


Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums, 1875-2000
The Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums consist of images and ephemera assembled by geographical regions. They were acquired and compiled Williams in the course of his work as a Forest Service sociologist and historian and due to his avocational interest in the history of forestry and the history of the United States, especially that of the Pacific Northwest region.  The albums document popular tourist destinations, national parks, the natural environment, prominent natural and architectural landmarks, forests and forest operations, mining, trains and railroads, early towns and cities, prominent citizens, and human activities, such as public events, hunting and fishing, and everyday life. Gerald Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 to 2005 as a sociologist (1979-1998) and historian (1998-2005). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. Panoramas in this collection are found in Series 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11 (Boxes 03, 04, 06, 07, 11, and 12).

Oregon State University Military Photographs Collection, 1875-1975
The Oregon State University Military Photographs Collection consists of images of military education and cadets at Oregon State from various sources and time periods. Individual images include portraits and group shots of military cadets and officers, as well as reviews, formations, training, and instructional materials. Photographs are arranged chronologically by historical era. Courses in military science have been taught at Oregon State since the early 1870s.Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. The panoramic prints (Image #21, 333-334, 370, 378, 568, 699, 792-794, 815-818, 820) can be found in Boxes 01 and 02.

Extension Service Photographs, 1900-2007
The Extension Service Photographs document Extension programs, activities, and staff throughout Oregon as well as Oregon agriculture. The Extension Service was established in Oregon in 1911. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. Panoramic prints can be found in Box-folder 4.1 and 8.9.

Fred Deininger Luse Photograph Album, 1908-1910
The Fred Deininger Luse Photograph Album consists primarily of images collected by Luse while attending Oregon Agricultural College in the early years of the twentieth century.  The images document campus buildings and grounds as well as student activities.  Luse graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1909 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. Panoramic prints are found in Box 01.

Jay William Blair Photographic Collection, circa 1939-1942
The Jay William Blair Photographic Collection documents the Oregon State College campus and student activities. Blair attended OSC from 1939 to 1942 and graduated in 1942. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. Panoramic images (Image #03, 20-22, and 51) can be found in Box 01.

Corvallis, Oregon, Photograph Collection, 1902-1964
The Corvallis, Oregon, Photograph Collection consists of images of Corvallis and vicinity that document the city and region in the early and middle 20th century. A variety of formats are represented in the collection, including panoramic prints, nitrate negatives, hand-tinted prints, and large mounted mural-size prints. The photographs were assembled from a variety of sources. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. The three panoramas in the collection can be found in Box-folder 3.1.

Frank Patterson Photographic Postcards, circa 1920s-1986
The Frank Patterson Photographic Postcards consist of images of natural features, tourist sites, and highways in Oregon and northern California.  Of note are numerous images of the Oregon Caves, Crater Lake, the Oregon Coast, and the redwoods.  Frank Patterson was a prolific photographer who worked in studios in Medford, Oregon and Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California during the 1920s-1950s. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. Four panoramic prints of Crater Lake in this collection can be found in Box-folder 1.2.

Malheur Migratory Bird Refuge Photographs, circa 1936
The Malheur Migratory Bird Refuge Photographs consist of a panoramic view of the Refuge in about 1936 that depicts the refuge headquarters and a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp.  The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, established  in 1908 as a preserve for native birds, is located in the Harney Basin of southeastern Oregon.  Much of the initial infrastructure at the Refuge was built by CCC enrollees between 1935 and 1942. The three prints comprising the panorama can be found in Box 01.

Digital Resources