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Home /History / History of 35mm Slides

History of 35mm Slides

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By Dillon Wallace

Even if you don’t know anything about slides and projectors, you at least know they’ve been around for a long time.

For 35 mm slide film, it’s been in existence for more than 85 years.
That’s right, two years after The Great Depression the 35 mm slide was invented in 1935 (a fitting name for a fitting year). As a result, it became the new standard for image projection, especially within the education system. Anyone who went to school in the 90s and earlier can probably recall slideshows in their science class.

 

35mm slide projectors

Before the 1950s, larger-format magic lanterns acted as projectors using various types of mechanical slides. A means for viewing images that had been around since the 1850s – a full century before 35 mm was created. But with the popularity of 35 mm slides, slide projectors hit the market and became the major form of home entertainment. Family members and friends would gather around to view their memories projected in larger than life size. Even Madmen had a scene on slide projectors and the sentimental value they provided families. 

 

WARNING: video may cause water to swell in your eyes.

 

The end of 35mm slides

Like all analog media, a digital counterpart eventually came along and snagged their market share. By the mid-2000s, digital images became the preferred medium within households and education systems causing the production of slide projectors to cease by 2004. Five years later Kodachrome film was discontinued in 2009. If you’re looking for a good movie that “documents” its final days, check out Kodachrome starring Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris and Elizabeth Olsen.

 

A colorful experience

With the discovery of Kodachrome’s three-color process, the 35 mm slide was a game changers for photographers. Before 35 mm’s existence, capturing color involved heavy glass plates, tripods, long exposures and a lengthy development process – all with the likelihood of a subpar image.

 

Thanks to Kodachrome, which didn’t require near as much light, and the 35 mm slide and electric projector, the improvement in quality skyrocketed. 

 

Digitizing your 35mm slides

Since 35 mm slides haven’t been produced in more than 15 years, it’s important that their memories live on, outside of their obsolete slide projector coffins. Simply send them in to us and our trained staff of conversion experts will digitize your old slides for the digital age. It may not have the same click through carousel feel when your viewing them, but they’ll be safe and sound, ready for future generations to view and admire.
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