The Seashore Trolley Museum Library has received two generous donations that will fund the Wason Collection digitization project. This collection consists of 3000 negatives and their prints, documenting the cars built for the railways around the country, and in South and Central America. The collection dates from 1906 to 1938 and has sample photographs from every order completed during that time period.
Print of a builders' photograph
Handy binder of negatives
These donations will allow us to purchase a new Epson V850 ProScanner and hire a Digitization Technician. Once scanned, the images will be accessible through our gallery at Digital Maine.
We're winding down our work on the Blueprint Project for the summer. Chris Libby has cataloged and scanned approximately 700 blueprints and engineering sketches. Now we're busy housing them all in archival storage.
Here is our workroom, filled to the brim. A bit chaotic!
Smaller blueprints go in flat boxes.
Larger blueprints are rolled in tissue paper.
Rolled on 8" archival tubes.
And neatly tied with cotton tape. Very tidy.
The next phase of the project will take a bit longer. Editing the images for optimum viewing and then a final upload into Digital Maine. Hoping to finish that work by the end of September.
We are making steady progress on the digitization of the Blueprint Collection. We have completed the cataloging and description of 500 blueprints, primarily from the Boston Elevated Railway and the West End Street Railway. You can see the data here.
By the end of the day, we will have scanned approximately 50% of the blueprints. Each scan is a TIFF, at 400 dpi. At this resolution, we will be able print out full-size images to help with restoration projects.
Lower resolution scans will ultimately be available to the public at our Galleries in Digital Maine, probably some time in September 2015.
If you can't wait to see some of the images, check out our photo collection of title boxes. The image quality on these isn't up to archival standards, but they're fun to browse anyway.
Progress continues on the blueprint project. We finished cataloging 500 prints (and there are boxes and boxes more still to unroll). The large majority of the prints come from the Boston Elevated Railway, with a smaller percentage from the West End Street Railway. Scanning has begun.
We made an interesting discovery as we were working with the prints. Many of the prints are clipped together with a cute little paperclip, called an Owl Clip. Here are some of the clips with their beefier, modern-day descendant:
The Owl Clip was first advertised in 1905 by the Owl Supply Co. of Boston and is still produced today by ACCO
Brands. The modern ones are 1" long; our antique ones are
.75". The Early Office Museum has a whole page devoted to the history of the paperclip, if you are interested in learning more.
Thanks to a generous donation from Seashore Trolley Museum member, James VB, the STM Library will be cataloging, preserving, and digitizing a collection of 500 blueprints from the Library's collections. The project will support the hire of an archival technician, the purchase of archival supplies for storage, and the rental of a large format scanner.
Once the project is complete (anticipated completion, September 1, 2015), the collection images and data will be searchable in the Museum image galleries on Digital Maine.
Here are some pictures of us getting set up, with some samples of the materials. There's treasure here!
Big pile of blueprints delivered
Sketches from the Boston Elevated Railway drawing office
Exciting news! We have identified the Wason Manufacturing Company Collection as a good candidate for a new grant project. This collection consists of 3000 negatives and their prints, documenting the cars built by the railways around the country. The collection dates from 1906 to 1938 and has sample photographs from every order completed during that time period. What a great resource for restoration professionals and railway modellers!
Here are some photographs of our adventure, retrieving the collection from our storage facility in the Bootts Cotton Mill in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The Bootts Cotton Mill where we have a storage unit.
One of the negative albums. The albums hold 100 3x5 negatives. We have 30 albums.
The index to one of the negative albums, indicating the company, the kind of car, and the various shots (interior, side view, trucks, etc.), and sometimes the year and order number
The mounted prints that correspond with the negatives in file drawers.
The O.R. Cummings Negative Collection includes records for more than 900 negatives, primarily of Maine railways, but also for other cities in the U.S. and countries around the world. Interested in learning more about what the collection contains?