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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's one for you...

I've got an old Railway Age (I think) magazine from 1901, which has an article on the Chicago & Alton's attempt to photograph their new train, the Alton Limited. The article describes the camera, a flatcar-mounted 4'x8' behemoth. Apparently, the C&A was so proud of their new train that they wanted a HUGE photo of it, without having to piece multiple prints together. It is claimed in the article that this was the largest camera (and largest negative & print) ever made. I don't know whether that is true or not, but it's interesting all the same.

The trouble is, the photo in question is not in the article! I wanna see the train. I've been looking for some time, including the library of congress's website, and this is the best I can find:


Unfortunately, having to reduce it to 640 pixels wide makes the train kinda tiny. The original file I have is 3 times the size.


My question is, is this the photograph taken on that day? I understand that the print hung in the C&A headquarters entry for years. Where it is now, I have no idea. I'd love to see it.
 

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Ken,
I can't tell you if this is the print taken with a the enormous camera you described. What I do know is that the print you show is part of a series of photographs that is now in the Library of Congress that were taken with a panoramic camera. Actually, there is a seller on Ebay who sells these prints. I do have a 52" print of the Corning NY New York Central Yards in 1915 hanging on my wall from that same collection. As well as photographs from scenes along the Denver & Salt Lake. I didn't do much research, but I think there was one or a small group of photographers in the early 20th Century traveling the US taking these panoramic pictures. Not all were railroad images. I assume the Alton train and the NYC shops were photographed because they were new a the time.

Is there another large print out there? Maybe.

Here is a link to the collection at the library, providing a summary of the art and photographers.

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/panoramic_photo
Library Of Congress Panoramic Photos

All the best, Martin
 

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Ken, the book, 'The Chicago & Alton Railroad' by Gene V. Glendinning, had a photo of the camera on page 140, and across the top of 140 and 141 is a view of the train.

Unfortunately the binding doesn't allow the picture to be scanned nicely, and my scanner isn't that big anyway.

Hard to compare the two pictures as the images are so small. There are no trees or anything in the background as there is in your picture. The photo in the book is cropped with very little sky or foreground visible. The engine and the first two cars look similar, the windows in the car seem to match. I cannot determine the window arrangement in your photo so as to compare with the rest of the train in the book.


The idea was George Charlton's, the head of the passenger department, who inherited the job from his father James Charlton.


Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Art,

Thanks for the info.

I've copied parts of the original image in 640 pixel wide segments, overlapping slightly, and posted below. I've also included another image I have of a different Alton Limited, which has even less detail, but looks older.






 

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The picture you have is not the same as in the book. Yours has a sign post beside the door of the first car; there is something blocking the view of the engine's cylinder block; there are fence posts next to the tracks; the next to last car does not seem to have the shades pulled down on two or more windows.

In the book, it mentions the camera was taken to Brighton Park 'and placed in a field parallel to the main line'. I doubt that Charlton would allow fence posts to mar the view of his 'prized attraction'.


It also mentions Charlton had the photo colored using a 'Cramer isochromatic plate' (whatever that is) so that the colors matched 'its colorful appearance'. The photo was then exhibited at Paris in 1900. Copies were made and hung in many on-line depots and off-line offices as well. Highly prized, 'a few remain in collections even today'.


Art
 
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