Among the many talents and hobbies of my great-grandfather, John Shields Payne, was that new-fangled thing called photography.
    And among the many things I have been handed down from Grandpa is his wooden box camera, and almost a hundred delicate 4-by-5-inch glass plate negatives. Some of them are in very good shape, and some have deteriorated severely, with the emulsion falling off the glass. Some of them are, after all, over 100 years old now.
    Having the advantage over past generations of having the internet, I thought it might be important to scan these images of life at the end of the 19th century, for historically-inclined people to share.
    Grandpa was a designer of railroad locomotives for the Rogers Locomotive Company of Paterson, New Jersey. He lived in Wortendyke, NJ (now Midland Park), and married a schoolteacher from Oakland. These photos are from in and around these areas. Most may seem mundane to non-family, but the fact of their age fascinates me. I've noted locations when I could, but many of the places and people in these photos are a mystery to me.
    I recognise that these images may be significant to local historians. I have higher resolution scans available. I welcome sharing them with historians and researchers of the area in which Grandpa, and I, grew up.
    On to the collection. In each section, click on the thumbnail image to download a larger version.

Steam Locomotives

The Paterson, NJ Area 100 years ago

Very Old Family Photos

100-Year-Old Photos of People I Don't Know

Here's the wooden bellows camera Grandpa used to take these pictures, along with the slotted wooden boxes holding the glass negatives. I wouldn't bee surprised if he made it all himself - he was a very handy guy.

And possibley the last cardboard box in existance that 4x5 glass negatives came in?

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