THE END CAME TO A PHOTOGRAPHIC ERA THURSDAY as the last photo lab to process Kodachrome film developed the final roll.
When Kodak announced last year that they would be discontinuing the famous film line, Firegeezer reported HERE on June 22, 2009:
It was the world’s first commercially successful color film. But since color film is largely made now with entirely different ingredients, it became uneconomical to continue with the Kodachrome which currently was being made only once a year. It has largely been replaced by their Ektachrome brand.
Because of the complexity, only Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kan., still processes Kodachrome film. The lab has agreed to continue through 2010, Kodak said. Hellyar estimates the retail supply of Kodachrome will run out in the fall, though it could be sooner if devotees stockpile. In the U.S., Kodachrome film is available only through photo specialty dealers.
At the time, Kodachrome amounted to less than 1% of Kodak’s film sales. After the announcement Dwayne’s owner, Dwaybe Steinle and his son Grant asked Kodak to mix up enough developer chemicals to last them to the end of 2010, which they did. During the past year the shop has been flooded with rolls for processing, some of them that had been hoarded in freezers for years. The New York Times reported:
In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.
AP / Duprey
In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.
During the past week Dwayne’s employees kept the last Kodachrome processing machine operating 24 hours a day filling orders as the announced deadline for accepting orders of December 30 approached. On Thursday Dwayne’s received 18 bags of U. S. mail and 500 packages via FedEx, enough work to keep them processing around the clock until sometime next week.
Finally all the deliveries had arrived and Dwayne pulled out a camera loaded with the last roll that will be developed, gathered the 60 employees of the lab out front and snapped the Final Photo with all of them wearing a custom-made T-shirt to mark the occasion.
The last Kodachrome processing machine? It’s going to be sold for scrap.
Dwayne’s Photo Lab WEBSITE HERE.
You can order the T-shirts online thru the website!
CBS News prepared this fine report on the end of the Kodachrome era
including a visit to Dwayne’s