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I have often received FILCA brass cassettes along with older LTM Leicas in my collection. I had noticed that one of them had a roll of black and white film in it when I got it about 5 years ago, but I only got around to processing the film about a month ago. I had no idea what film was in the cassette, what 'ISO' it was and also what age it was. Taking the advice of a friend, I gave the roll 1 hour stand development in diluted D 76 and was pleasantly surprised to find that the roll contained about 21 images (the roll was never finished), most of which were in some way usable. The film was Perutz film of unknown speed. Here is the FILCA with some of the film still inside.

The contents of the film were photographs taken in Switzerland and Northern Italy in the very early 1950s. Some of the images were fine, but some of them were grainy and/or suffered from light leaks. The light leaks occurred when I , and possibly others before me,  opened the cassette, not knowing that there was a roll of film inside. A woman and a man feature in the photographs and a dachshund also appears in some photos. The photos generally seem to indicate Switzerland and Italy in the early 1950s, particularly a light damaged photo of Banhofstrasse in Zurich which shows large American cars from the late 1940s functioning as taxis. The people may no longer be with us considering their ages at the time, but I would like to trace their families to unite them with the images

The couple were driving a mid 1930s BMW 315 with a cabriolet body, possibly, by Weinmann. The registration plate seen in this photo is apparently from the American Zone in Bavaria, the suggestion that it was from Aschaffenberg is disputed. The location of this photo is at La Veduta on the Julier Pass in the Italian Speaking part of Switzerland.

Some of the photos show Northern Italy such as this wonderful view of the Steamer Bisbino on Lake Como. A photograph of a narrow street leading to a church clock/bell tower identifies the location as Bellagio on Lake Como.

I have been trying to remember which of my cameras the FILCA cassette came with. The cassette came either with a black and nickel III or a chrome IIIa or may have been used with another IIIa which I don't have. A box for FILCA cassettes belonging to that camera came with my IIIa. I have asked the Leica Archives for delivery details of my cameras, but nothing has emerged yet. They would , of course, only provide details of the dealers and not any details of the customers.

Photos of the cameras and the couple and other views of Switzerland and Italy from the roll of film plus various pieces of information and technical considerations can be seen in this article here:

https://www.macfilos.com/2020/09/11/swiss-roll-hidden-for-70-years-these-photographs-were-recovered-from-an-ancient-leica-film-cassette/#comment-31422

The object here is to identify the couple and to unite their families with the images which have been missing for about 70 years. I might add that some of the photos are very good, but have suffered some ravages over time. Overall, though, the FILCA brass cassette did a mighty fine job protecting the film for anything up to 70 years.

William

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I have often received FILCA brass cassettes along with older LTM Leicas in my collection. I had noticed that one of them had a roll of black and white film in it when I got it about 5 years ago, but I only got around to processing the film about a month ago. I had no idea what film was in the cassette, what 'ISO' it was and also what age it was. Taking the advice of a friend, I gave the roll 1 hour stand development in diluted D 76 and was pleasantly surprised to find that the roll contained abo

There is some dispute about whether the photos on the roll of film were pre-war or post-war. I am posting here the damaged photo from the same roll of film which clearly shows post-war American cars being used as taxis on Banhofstrasse in Zurich along with the BMW 315, the young woman and the dachshund. Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!   William

My article appeared in the New York Times today. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/world/europe/ireland-lost-film-developed.html William  

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There is some dispute about whether the photos on the roll of film were pre-war or post-war. I am posting here the damaged photo from the same roll of film which clearly shows post-war American cars being used as taxis on Banhofstrasse in Zurich along with the BMW 315, the young woman and the dachshund.

 

William

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8 hours ago, romualdo said:

WOW!! read the comments section - fascinating indeed!! The Otto & Helga story seems bizarre

It is and clearly untrue. I have now posted the photo of the cars on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich into the story. The provider of the 'Otto & Helga' story now agrees that the trip was post-war and has identified two of the cars in the photo as a 1949 De Soto Diplomat and a 1949/50 Peugeot 203. The car in which the couple were travelling was identified as a BMW 315 by a former senior manager at BMW. If he sees this, Wilson Laidlaw might like to comment on the cars.

William

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Hi William,

That's simply fantastic. I've shared in a local Leica group (if you prefer not, just let me know).

That has been a true latent image that you have bring back to life 70 years later. I do hope you will be able to locate the family.

Once more, congratulations and thank you for sharing with us.

Augusto

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16 minutes ago, AndreasG said:

The BMW´s registration "AB" got used in Bavaria/Germany in the period 1948-1956 only, so at least we get a time window.

We have somebody in Germany checking on this. The Bisbino Steamer on Lake Como is in its pre-1956 configuration in the photos. The cars on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich have been identified as a 1949 De Soto Diplomat and a 1949/50 Peugeot 203. That narrows the time window to 1950-56. I suspect that the photos were taken in the 1950 to 1952 period. My use of 70 years old is just a rounding up. I still have not heard from Leica AG Archives about the cameras, but I will send them a reminder. We might escalate this to general media later this week. If that happens I will post a link to that in Barnack's Bar.

William

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3 hours ago, AndreasG said:

In the left background of the photo in #2 we see the Dürr Zigarren Shop, it stills exist in the same location and even building in Zurich, maybe they can assist in dating the photo?

 

It was that shop that led to the identification of the location. I had seen this photo of the same location which I believe to be earlier than the photo posted above. This one is said to be circa 1950. 

The reason for saying that this one is earlier is that the Zigarren shop seems to have been repainted in a brighter colour in the photo from the roll of film. Also in this one, the policeman conducting traffic at the junction (with Paradeplatz?)  seems to have been standing in what resembles a barrel in this one, whereas in the photo from the roll of film a nice new structure seems to have been built. Based on other photos I have seen from Zurich from that period it would seem that there were a lot of accidents involving trams at junctions.

William

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31 minutes ago, AndreasG said:

Thanks. I can see the painting of Ziggaren in lighter colours and the revised policeman's stand. We also know that the trip was before 1956 as that was the year in which Bisbino was altered and the funnel removed. The cars in this picture are much later than those in the picture from the roll of film.

William

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21 minutes ago, mmradman said:

BBC is also running a piece.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-54175441

 

Thanks. I am going to post something on Barnack's Bar to see if I can get wider responses as the objective is to trace the people in the photographs. I see that somebody posted a link there this morning but, surprisingly, that thread has been closed already. I had mooted that some months ago. 

William

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On 9/14/2020 at 3:47 PM, willeica said:

We might escalate this to general media later this week. If that happens I will post a link to that in Barnack's Bar.

This is where I mentioned linking the matter to Barnack's Bar. It took some time for the matter to work its way through the BBC processes. 

William

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Just now, andybarton said:

There is already a thread there about this.

Thanks Andy. It has been closed already. I am about to repost. I have had assistance everywhere on this matter from Ambassadors to journalists to international Leica historians to the top people at Leica AG HQ. I hope that my search to find the people in the photos will get full support on this Forum.

 

William

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