Possibly the lowest-tech thing in the Polaroid arsenal: the Polaroid print mount.

It’s just a piece of thick cardboard, exactly the size of a 100-series photograph, with pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side. A big sticker, essentially. It was created as a stopgap in 1962, when Polacolor film made its debut. Polaroid’s people soon discovered that, as the developed color photos dried, a few of the internal layers of the emulsion shrank slightly, causing the pictures to curl up tightly—sometimes to the dimensions of a cigarette, according to marketing executive Peter Wensberg. The stopgap was the print mount: You’d stick your new photo to a card, and the adhesive would keep it flat. Land once claimed that the cards were an archivally sound way of saving your photos, though I’d be very surprised to find that acidified cardboard and glue do anything good for a photo after a few decades. But the print mounts did serve their purpose, and the back of each one did a nice job of advertising Polaroid’s copy service.

I am not sure exactly when they went out of production, but I suspect it was in the mid-seventies, when Polaroid color film was reformulated with a new negative component and became Polacolor 2. The mounts turn up in camera cases regularly, often in big handfuls.

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