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Broken Glass Stuck to Old Picture

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  • Broken Glass Stuck to Old Picture

    I have an old photo in a frame that has the glass broken.

    The remaining glass is stuck to the photo.

    Does anyone know of a safe way to remove the glass without damaging the picture?



  • #2
    Hi Marilyn,
    Welcome aboard. Although I can't help you with that myself, I did remember there was some discussion in another thread about it that might be of some help to you. Check it out by clicking this link. This may help you out.


    • #3

      Glad to have you on the site. I just posted something on the link Debbie gave (above). There should be a little more info tomorrow, if everything goes as planned.



      • #4
        Okay, I found the book. Apparently, there are three different emulsion vehicles that might be encountered. Gelatin, Collodion, or albumen. If the photo was from the 20th century, it likely has a gelatin emulsion vehicle. If you put one drop of water on a non-important part of the image, you can make a test. If after a few minutes, you turn the photo at different angles to the light and you see swelling, it is gelatin. If the paper is resin coated (I think that came out in the early 1970's), it will be *much* less likely to swell even if the vehicle is gelatin. *Great* care should be used when subjecting a gelatin photo to water. Swelling can occur, and in some instances become so soft that it can be rubbed off with your finger. I have personally soaked photos (immersed) for a couple of days with little problem. They were likely resin coated (RC) papers. Water should have no ill effects on albumen or collodion, but these photos should be researched further before doing any cleaning, or subjecting them to liquids of any kind. If you think you might have a problem, do more research on the subject. This information is only to let you know of possible problems. Hope this is helpful to some, but don't take what I say as gospel truth. You now have a starting point for further research.



        • #5
          Thanks for everyone's help.

          The photo is not mine, so I would not do anything to it like putting water on it, etc. But, I will pass all the information along to the owners if they'd like to try some of these techniques.

          Not sure I'd be brave enough to try some of them on one of my old photos either though. Maybe I'm just overly cautious :-)

          Thanks again,


          • #6

            I posted the above to the wrong thread. If you want to move it, it should have gone here:


            That's what this site is all about. You're more than welcome.



            • #7
              M, One of the problems with soaking photos is that cracking of the emulsion layer will occur as the photo dries. Usually this is so slight as to be really a non-issue as removing stuck glass shards or cleaning takes front stage. R/C papers are less prone to this problem as the cracks generally occur as the paper support of the image layer deforms by contracting/expanding at a greater rate and dimensional distortion than the emulsion layer, where the image resides. Water, of the distilled variety is probably the safest thing to use and allowing the photo to dry on a flat surface resting on blotter paper is strongly advised as is allowing the photo to dry "naturally" without using any externat source of heat such as hair driers, etc.. Curling might be a problem with uncoated papers but probably not with R/C stuff. I am assuming that where the photo lives , the climate is of the hot/humid type, which is probably why the photo stuck to the glass, as gelatin prints are prone to get soft and sticky when exposed to high heat/humidity. The idea of carefully using an external heat source mentioned in the thread DJ suggested would be worth a try, but, the best thing to do is nothing if you dont feel comfortable. I think you made a wise choice. Tom


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