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I have this older looking Velox photograph with the numbers "430" typed on the back. The Velox logo in this photo has an Oval shape around the text with the text being in a fancy sort of font. I have tried looking into this before but to no avail. I did find someone else on here with the same sort of photo with numbers on the back also being in purple and on velox paper, theres was from around 1937 - 1949

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    \$\begingroup\$ We need an image to even begin to discuss your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – user106382
    Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of Velox. Any chance of a little more context? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Velox was a photo material maker acquired by Kodak early in the 20th century. Kodak made contact print paper under that name for many years. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 15:13

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It is difficult to date a photo based solely on imprints appearing on the back (non-emulsion) side. The imprints can come from many sources, including the paper manufacturer, processing lab, photographer, retail store, etc. Velox paper was manufactured by different companies, and had different codes at different times relating to contrast and paper finish and weight.

Packets of Kodak Velox printing paper showing the Kodak letter/number system for labeling contrast grade and paper finish.

Packets of Kodak Velox photographic printing paper
Courtesy of Early Photography (UK)

Velox was originally a Gelatine silver chloride, gaslight development, photographic printing-out paper. It was invented by Leo Baekeland, and manufactured by Nepera Chemical Co., Yonkers, NY, beginning in 1897. In 1899 the company was sold to Eastman Kodak. Velox became a Kodak brand of glossy and matte photo printing papers in various contrast grades. It was marketed as "Velox" until 1947 when they began marketing it as "Kodak Velox".

Prior to 1947 Velox had its own numbering system, after that date Kodak standard designations were used. From c. 1929 the word 'Velox' was surrounded by an oval on the backs of glossy prints, this was to distinguish them when washing and prior to glazing.

Glossy papers had to be glazed on a high-temperature mirror-polished chrome drum in order to achieve the correct finish.

Packet of Kodak Velox printing paper
Courtesy Photo Memorabilia UK

As far as code numbering which appeared on the paper's box or packet, they may or may not have been imprinted on the reverse side. Generally a darkroom technician would not need to know what an individual sheet's contrast grade or paper weight was, since they would have taken it out of a marked box or envelope.

By way of example of coding names, before & after 1947: Bromesko CFL 2 D = Cream Fine Lustre, Normal, Double weight. Pre-1947: 47 Z = Cream Lustre, Medium, Double weight. Bromide WSM 1 S = White Smooth Matt, Soft, Single weight. Pre-1947: BBS 1 = Crayon Black, Soft, Single weight (BBS 1 = Bromide Black Smooth, 1 = soft grade). White Smooth Matt was a completely smooth dead matt paper and Crayon Black was the nearest pre-1947 equivalent surface.

Given these examples of Velox paper's different coding systems, further exploration into the provenance of the photo is not possible without more information or an image of the imprint itself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If, as the answer states, Velox was only produced using the trade name Velox until 1947, how did Velox receive different markings after 1947, as the answer also states? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Velox became a trademark of Kodak, who marketed the paper as Kodak Velox. The logo stamped on the reverse was to differentiate glossy paper, which needed to be drum dried. There was no other way to distinguish glossy from matte before glazing, especially while the paper was wet. \$\endgroup\$
    – user106382
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then they continued using the trade name Velox after 1947, adding Kodak to it, while continuing to make the product. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 8:33

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