Kodachrome - the iconic film for collectors

'They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah' - Paul Simon

I don’t know of any other film brand that also became the title of a hit song like Paul Simon’s 'Kodachrome', released in 1973. But that is not all that makes Kodachrome unique among 35mm color films, as many of you who have collections of Kodachrome slides know. Besides reproducing the color of reality with a unique color palette, Kodachrome has also proven to be much more enduring than other color films. Any collection of Kodachrome slides stored in reasonably good conditions will have its original color and density very much intact, like some of my slides that go back 50 years.

Zoggavia collection wouldn't be in existence without Kodachrome. The oldest slide is dating back to 1939 and until the discontinuation of the film in June 2009 more than 95% of the slides in the collection are Kodachrome. 

Kodachrome - in brief

The additive methods of color photography, such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor, were the first practical color processes; however, these had disadvantages. The réseau filter was made from discrete color elements that became visible upon enlargement, and the finished transparencies absorbed between 70% and 80% of light upon projection, requiring very bright projection lamps, especially for large projections. Using the subtractive method, these disadvantages could be avoided.

Kodachrome was invented in the early 1930s by two professional musicians, Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and Leopold Mannes, hence the comment that Kodachrome was made by God and Man. It was first sold in 1935 as 16mm movie film. In 1936 it was made available in  8mm movie film, and slide film in both 35mm and 828 formats. Kodachrome would eventually be produced in a wide variety of film formats including 120 and 4x5, and in ISO/ASA values ranging from 8 to 200.

Kodachrome - The mounts 1939 - 2009

Information around Kodachrome

Kodachrome Characteristics
Information on emulsion, archival stability, scanning processing and product time line for Kodachrome II, 25 and 64. 

Kodachrome - Technical data
Kodak data sheet about the Kodachrome 25, 64, and 200

The Kodachrome Project
A wonderful and lasting body of photography that speaks not only of the Kodachrome era,
but what can be done to bridge it with future ones, for there will never be another Kodachrome.

A tribute to Kodachrome
Kodak want to celebrate the rich history of this storied film.
Feel free to share the fondest memories of Kodachrome.

Handling and preservation of color slides collections
  Information on h
ow long a Kodachrome slide should be used in a projector, or
what are the starage conditions to preserve the colors from fading

Examples of original Kodachrome slides
from 1939 until 2009

Please join the voyage of discovery over
70 years of history of
both aviation photography and Kodachrome.


Original "Kodachrome" with stamped number (many examples known without number) April 1939 - May 1949


Original "Kodachrome" with stamped number
April 1939 - May 1949


Original "Kodachrome" without number
April 1939 - May 1949


"Kodachrome / Transparency" & number May 1952 - Aug 1955


"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" & inked number Aug 1955 - July 57


"Kodachrome / Transparency/ Processed By / Technicolor" on grey mount, November 1958


"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" inked number, stamped date June 58 - Sept 61 (Note stamp below "Made in USA")


"Kodachrome / Transparency" on white mount from unknown processor 1961


"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" inked number, stamped date June 58 - Sept 61 (Note stamp below "Made in England")


"Kodachrome / Transparency/ Processed By / Technicolor" on white mount, inked number,
no date stamp


"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" stamped number & stamped date 1965 - 1966  "Made in USA" printed in yellow


"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" stamped number & date
1967 - 1972  "Made In USA" & patent Number printed in yellow


"Kodachrome / Diapositiv / Entwickelt von Kodak" inked number & date
1972 - 1974  stamped "Made in USA"


"Diapositive / Kodachrome / Traité en France par Kodak" inked number & stamped date
1972 - 1974



"Kodachrome / Transparency / Processed By Kodak" stamped number & date
1972 - 1974  stamped "Made in USA"


"Kodachrome / Slide / Processed By Kodak" stamped number & date 1980 - 1983


"Kodachrome / Slide/ Processed By Kodak" inked number & date 1983 - 1986 stamped "Made in Australia"


"Kodachrome / Slide / Processed By Kodak" inked number 1983 - 1986


"Kodachrome / Slide / Processed By Kodak" inked number and date 1983 - 1986
"Made in Australia"


"Kodachrome / Film / Kodalux Processing" inked number & stamped date
1988 - 1988


"Diapositive / Kodachrome / traité par Kodak" stamped number & date
1986 - 1988


"Kodachrome / Film / Kodalux Processing Services" inked number & date
1989 - 1994



"Kodachrome / Film / Kodak Premium Processing" inked number and date
- 2000


"Kodachrome / Kodak"
stamped number & date
2000 - 2006



"Kodachrome Film / Kodak Picture Processing" stamped number & date
2000 - 2006



"Kodachrome Film / Slide Processing by Kodak" stamped number & date
2000 - 2006


"Kodak" stamped number & date
2006 - 2009



"Kodak" stamped number & date
2006 - 2009


At first, the processed film was not mounted by Kodak, photographers were expected to mount their own film. Kodak introduced a projector for them in February 1937, and Kodak glass slide mounts were introduced in April 1937. Pressboard mounts were announced on February 1939 as being standard on all processing effective April 1, 1939.

The Pan American Boeing B314 Clipper NC18602, seen at San Francisco is a nice and rare  Kodachrome example in a carboard mount dated as early as 1939, Zoggavia Collection.

Early Kodachrome made in the first few years of production used the date code symbols of Kodak movie film.

TWA Douglas DC-3 NC18945 picured at San Francisco, CA on 17 April 1943, Clinton H. Groves Collection.

Well preserved carboard mount of high quality.

Pan American Worl Airways L-749 N86520 'Clipper America' pictured on arrival from its first 'Round-the-World Service' at San Francisco, CA June 1947, Zoggavia Collection.

"Consent Decree Kodachrome" after June 1954

Kodak did all processing on Kodachrome until courts decreed it a monopoly. Initially, Kodak sold the film and processing together and the customer paid for both when they bought the film. After the decision, Kodachrome was sold as film and processing could be done by independent labratories or by Kodak. After this date, Kodachromes processed by Kodak say so on the mount.

Swiss Air Lines Douglas DC-6B  HB-IBU serviced a Zurich-Kloten airport in summer 1954, Zoggavia Collection.

This change of imprint was made because other labs began offering Kodachrome processing, which previously had only been done by Eastman Kodak.

Nice shot of a TWA L-049 Constellation N86514 during 1956, Zoggavia Collection.

Technicolor labs; a collection of film laboratories across the world owned and run by Technicolor for post-production services including developing, printing, and transferring films in all major developing processes, as well as Technicolor's proprietary ones.
(1922 - present)

Nice shot of Transocean L-1049 N1880 at Oakland, CA November 1958, Clinton H. Groves Collection.

Eastman Kodak brand colors were used the first time, yellow and red corner, the cardboard used to be in natural white.

Airport scene at Amsterdam airport with Connies, DC-7s and DC-3s, Zoggavia Collection.

Kodachrome II film was introduced during 1961, known as may be the best slide film of all times

Example of an unknown processor of Kodachrome slide film. Most probably developed at Hawaii.

Slick L-1049H Super Constellation during a stop on route from the West Coast to the Pacific region. summer 1961, Clinton H. Groves Collection.

Kodak produced the Kodachrome II film in the United Kingdom and also in France to meet European deamnd of the film.

Bristol Br.170 Freighter on a passenger charter to Ronaldsway, Isle of Man, UK, July 1963, Zoggavia Collection.

Technicolor developed Kodachrome slide dated July 1963.

Paradise Airlines L-049 Constellation basking in the Californian sun, July 1963, Clinton H. Groves Collection.

Similar mount and Kodak brand logo like earlier seen.

SP-LVC LOT Vickers Viscount series 700 photographed at Zurich-Kloten, March 1966, Guido E. Bühlmann Collection.

The famous "corner curl" trade mark  began to shring late 1966 and additionally Eastman Kodak patent number 3.1013.364 has been added.

G-ANBF Britannia Airways Bristol Br. 175 Britannia series 100 seen at Zurich-Kloten, December 1968, Zoggavia Collection.

The "curled corner" trade mark was dropped and a new Kodak logo was introduced in the 2nd half of 1972. Beside in the Americas Kodachrome films were also produced in European countries, like Germany, France and United Kingdom.

Lufthansa Boeing B747 D-ABYA c/n 19746 'Nordrhein-Westfalen' the first Jumbo Jet delivered to Lufthansa 10 March 1970, just  three years after the last Super Connie operation. Frankfurt March 1973, Zoggavia Collection.

Example of a French Kodak mount. On some mounts a red + was stamped, meaning that the new development process K-14 was used as Kodak switched from KII (which used the K-12 process) to Kodachrome 25 and 64.

Delta Air Transport DC-6B OO-LVG seen at Paris Le Bourget, June 1973, Zoggavia Collection.

Standard Kodachrome II 25 ASA film. One can say that Kodachrome was on its peak quality wise; fine grain, great colors and contrast, even when underexposured the slide showed nice results.

A common sight at European Airports at that time, Delta Air Transport DC-6B OO-VGK, seen at Vienna, Austria, September 1974, Zoggavia Collection.

Slightly revised design of the classic white card board mount, just before the edges were rounded for better handling in projectors.

One of the last take-off pictures of this classic swingtail DC-6A/C of Kar-Air Finland on its twice weekly freight run to London Heathrow and Amsterdam, Helsinki August 1981, Zoggavia Collection.

Some time after 1980/1981, mounts began to appear with round corners which were probably introduced to be easier to insert into projector trays. The red "+" also disappeared as all films were developed with the K-14 process
New Kodak logo was introduced again in this mount desing launched in 1983. Developed and framed in Australia.

CX-BOP Boeing B737 of Pluna, taken Ocotber 1984, Zoggavia Collection

Since 1983, the "new" corporate logo started to undergo many variations because of the business agreements in various parts of the world and designs surfaced that more or less integrated the symbol within other symbolic
shapes. Slightly changed position of the Koak logo on this frame.

B-2625 Boeing B737 in the colors of Fat Easterbn Air Transport photographed in 1985, Zoggavia Collection.

Again an Australien Kodachrome mount, this time in black and red colors.

RP-C1866 Boeing B707 of Samoa Air taken at Manila, November 1985, Zoggavia Collection.

US Kodachrome with Kodalux processing service imprint.

N8974U an ex United Douglas DC-8-62 with ATI titles taken December 1989, Zoggavia Collection.

In 1989 there were up to 3 different  mount designs in use.

Yellow colors was brought back in the next series of mounts. This slide represents a North American development process.

Nice shot of N DC-6 in the new livery of Universal Airlines, used for freight flights, November 1990, Zoggavia Collection.

Sources: Kodak,
Historic Photo Archive, photo.net, and Shutterbug

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