View Full Version : Historical Photos of the Color Industry

07-06-2000, 07:30 AM
I had these old photos laying around - might make for some interesting discussion. Take a peek:

First, here is an advertisement for Lefranc Colors, A French paint-maker (still in business today, as Lefranc-Bourgeois). This is from the late 1800s. Check the colors on this palette! (Note, the larger image is like 300K, so it will take a while to pull down):

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/pub/scottb/tn_lefranc_couleurs.jpg" border=0>

You can view <A HREF=http://www.wetcanvas.com/pub/scottb/lefranc_couleurs.jpg>the larger image here.</A>

According to the text in the image, the colors are (rough translation):

Among the colors you'll see are Ivory Black (run! flee!), burnt sienna, white, cobalt blue, "mineral blue" - hmm, emerald green, naples yellow, cadmium yellow, indian yellow, natural (raw) sienna, yellow ochre, vermillion, and rose...

In the old days, before the concept of paint "tubes" came about, the paint was kept in small bladders, generally made from pigskin, or intestine (disgusting by today's standards, but that's the way it was back then). When the artist wanted some paint from a bladder, they would poke a hole in it with a knife, and squeeze out the desired amount. The paint would eventually form a "skin" over the hole they created, effectively closing the bladder. Nifty! Here is a photo of an old artist's sketchbox, clearly showing the little bladders of paint!

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/pub/scottb/box_o_bladders.jpg" border=0>

When tubes finally did come into play, they were not the plastic tubes we're used to today. They were made of metal, as shown in this photo:

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/pub/scottb/old_metal_tubes.jpg" border=0>


[This message has been edited by scottb (edited July 06, 2000).]

07-06-2000, 06:58 PM
Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! A box of bladders! ew..
Are those petrified by now or does the
oil in them keep them?
Very interesting post Scott. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

07-06-2000, 07:24 PM
<FONT face="Book Antiqua">Text</FONT f>
Hey Scott,
Neat photos ! I collect old paintboxes - sometimes they still have paint in them . I've gotten really nice pigment rich paints like this , some of them 50-60 years old and still good , esp. if the binder was coldpress linseed . The Cad.s still have that great fishy smell !


' True courage lies in the ability to sustain deep emotion '

[This message has been edited by colinbarclay (edited July 06, 2000).]

03-07-2002, 12:12 AM
Oh nifty Scott.
Just so you know, paint still comes in metal tubes, in fact Daniel Smith sells the empty tubes for people who want to make their own paint and store it that way. I want to get some myself.

Maybe they are plastic lined or something... is there soething wrong with metal?

03-07-2002, 04:47 PM
I'm glad you said that Crissy...I haven't touched a tube of oil paint in about 30 years, but they were metal then...but so were toothpaste tubes.

03-07-2002, 06:03 PM
Scott.....I have a set of antique watercolors in a sliding box bought from a reputable CWar dealer. On the plate on the back of the set are the initials "R.E.L."

Contacted Wash. and Lee Univ and the expert there was kind enuf to give me some info on his artwork and led us to believe its possible that they might have been his

Whether these actually were his who knows but its fun anyway....

They are definitely antique.......Karen:)