Polaroid’s early instant films were pretty slow in speed, rated at ASA 100. They were also “orthochromatic,” meaning they responded to some wavelengths of light more strongly than others. (Practically speaking, that meant that red and yellow objects registered as nearly black, and only the green/blue/violet range registered as you’d expect.)

In 1955, that changed with the introduction of two new products: Type 42 and Type 44. They were panchromatic films, meaning they responded to all visible wavelengths. Type 42 was rated at ASA 200; Type 44, at ASA 400. Here’s a brick of three rolls of Type 44, still sealed in the factory cellophane.

The red-on-gray-with-white-logos packaging was on its way out in favor of Paul Giambarba’s black-end-panel designs.

 

 

“Use before May 1962.” Most likely produced, therefore, in early 1961. (Ask not what your camera can do for you.) This product stayed in the line until ’63, by which time I suspect the much faster Type 47 had  gobbled up its sales. That may be why the packaging hadn’t been updated to match the others; why bother for a product that’s on its way out?

 

You were instructed to flatten the box and use it as a little photo wallet.

 

 

 

Polaroid film that’s 50 years old is almost sure to be unusable, because the pod dries out. I do wonder whether the extra layer of protection provided by the plastic wrap just might have kept this stuff active. (Probably not. I’m loath to break the seal, anyway. It’s a museum piece, like this one.) Couple of good-looking examples of Type 44 here, on Giambarba’s blog.

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