126: The end of the line

I’ve written before that my first camera was an Ilford Sportsman 50c 126 camera. To be honest looking back it was awful. It did however get me hooked on photography! When the shop I was working in got down to it’s last roll of 126 film (20 years ago?) I purchased it for old times sake and ran it through the camera. The shutter had jammed open without me noticing, so all I got was a streaky fogged mess. Years later I was gifted the above roll of film, that was still sealed in it’s little foil wrapper inside. The expiry date was 1985! I kept it none the less, just in case I ever felt the need.

Just recently I came across the Kodak above in a charity/thrift shop for 50p, it was nice and clean, in it’s case, and the shutter worked. It came home with me. I dug out the WH Smith’s 1985 126 film, opened it up and popped it in. That by itself brought back many memories. In 1985 ‘Smiths sold such film for £1:49, and included was a voucher for 50p off processing! (to use by 1983!) so that tells me that the film was sold in ’82 or ’83 – 40 years ago!!!!

I set off for a quick photo walk – the first exposure wind on was a bit hard going but it soon freed up – I carried on. Number 1 appeared and went – then no more numbers! I carried on snapping, but I had formed a suspicion by the end of the roll. In fact the last 3 shots I fired off of the floor and opened up the back before winding fully off. I suspect that the film had stuck to the backing paper and somehow, I ended up with the backing paper facing the shutter and the film against the window on the cassette. I’m not sure how that’s even possible, but I managed it!

Magic! Film and backing paper swapped places!

So apart from stirring some old memories, the little experiment was a total flop. I’m not sure I expected much from the 40 year expired colour film anyway – maybe just a couple of images converted to black and white? However the advice sheet that came with the film was interesting reading!

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