Glass Plate Negatives of Pompey, New York

Cover Image:
Lewis Boys
Lewis Boys - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
Early 1900s

Historical Context

Glass negatives are unfamiliar to most of us today, but they were the means of making photographs in the early stages of photography.  Wet collodin glass plate negatives were developed in 1851.   They provided sharper images with less exposure time than the former photographic processes.   This type of negative was replaced by gelatin dry glass plate negatives that were introduced in 1871 and commercially manufactured starting in 1875.  

Dry glass plate negatives were made by coating the dry plate with gelatin and light sensitive salts.   These negatives were ten times more sensitive than the wet collodin plates.  They were popular because:  (1) they could be prepared in advance of the shoot, eliminating the need to bring chemicals and developing equipment into the field; (2) they could be stored for relatively long periods of time before use; (3) they could be commercially manufactured eliminating the need for each photographer to make his/her own.

Glass plate negatives remained in use until 1925 when they were replaced by nitrocellulose sheet film.

Pompey Historical Society in Central New York has organized a collection of glass negatives from the early 1900s.  They were created by two local photographers who were interested in capturing early 20th century images of the people and places of Central New York.

Gary (Garret H.) Lyon (1879-1957) was a resident of the Pompey Hollow Valley, Town of Pompey.   

LeRoy “Roy” Clapp (1889-1963) was also a resident of the Town of Pompey.  

As an avocation, they both were photographers recording many people, places, and events in the area.  Fortunately, their families carefully preserved and passed down these fine collections of glass negatives

Scope of Collection

This collection includes photographs from Gary Lyon and LeRoy Clapp and depict buildings, people and landscapes in the rural community of Pompey, New York.