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Digital Restoration of 19th Century Photographs:
Eight CDVs of Early Locomotive Engineers
of the CPRR and UPRR

Before and After Restoration of an Engineer CDV Portrait

The vast majority of the thousands of images displayed on the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum website have been scanned from original 19th century commercial stereoviews, photographs, engravings, lithographs, maps, and other types of images. In order to provide the most useful images possible to its visitors, the Museum has done its best to select originals for display as exhibits which have survived relatively well over a period of 130 years or more.

DigitalImageServices.comMany images, however, are from extremely rare originals of which very few were produced, and, in some cases, perhaps no more than just one or two still exist. In cases such as these, therefore, the only rare or unique image available at all may be very badly damaged. In order to prepare such images for exhibition at the Museum therefore necessarily required a great deal of professional digital image restoration.

The eight "Carte de Visite" (CDV) images displayed below are just such a case. These small (2 1/2 x 4 inches including card mounting) albumen print portraits made between 1868 and 1874 are of eight engineers who we surmise drove the locomotives for the CPRR and UPRR on the Truckee, Salt Lake and Ogden Divisions. All of these prints have moderate to severe insect damage with two of them having as much as 25% of their original images' emulsion missing.

However as these are the only such portraits that the Museum has ever been able to locate of the men who actually drove the first trains to traverse the then newly completed Pacific Railroad, it was felt that it was important to include them in this exhibit despite their extensively damaged condition. (Indeed these may well be the only surviving images of these eight railroad pioneers.) In order to display them, therefore, I undertook the task of digitally restoring them to as close to their original condition as possible.

After many hours of careful work the final results are displayed below.

In order to see the extent of the restoration necessary in this project, also included above is a side-by-side comparison of one of these images in its actual current condition and the same image after it has been digitally restored. This 1868 portrait of CPRR engineer Dan Hanton required an extremely large number of individual steps to reconstruct and restore it to its final form seen below.

While the digital restoration necessary for these eight images has been unusually great, almost all of the other images which appear throughout the Museum site have also had similar work done on them in order to make them as clear and visually pleasing as possible.

I hope you enjoy the results.

Bruce C. Cooper
Digital Image Restoration Artist
DigitalImageServices.com
 
 

CPRR Engineer Dan Hanton

CPRR Engineer Dan Hanton
1868

(Note: The Palace Art Gallery did not exist prior to 1875 when the Palace Hotel was built across the street, and the Gallery existed as late as the late 1890's. So this picture had to have been taken in 1875 or later. Perhaps the 1868 date is the date the engineer was hired.)

verso
CPRR Engineer Claus Gilloway
CPRR Engineer Claus Gilloway
Truckee Division, 1868
verso
CPRR Engineer E.V. Wilson
CPRR Engineer E.V. Wilson
Salt Lake Division, 1870

VERSO:
E V Wilson
Engineer
M K & T Rwy
[Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway]
Junction City
Kansas

verso
CPRR Engineer Loyde Clark
CPRR Engineer Loyde Clark
Truckee Division, 1868
verso
UPRR Engineer Lewis Dempsey
UPRR Engineer Lewis Dempsey
Ogden, 1871
verso
CPRR Engineer Gilbert Lemery
CPRR Engineer Gilbert Lemery
Truckee Division, 1874
verso
UPRR Engineer James Welch
UPRR Engineer James Welch
Ogden, 1869
verso
CPRR Engineer John Hoskins
CPRR Engineer John Hoskins
Salt Lake Division, 1872
verso

Digital Image Restoration Courtesy Bruce C. Cooper.

Bruce Cooper's latest book is "RIDING THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILS: OVERLAND TRAVEL ON THE PACIFIC RAILROAD, 1865 - 1881." He also digitally restored numerous 19th Century photographic images, maps, and engravings for the CPRR Museum website and created composite graphics for the exhibits, both services which he also provides professionally to the public through his independent online business, DigitalImageServices.com.

E-mailAre any of these men family members or do you have any information about their family histories or careers? – Please let us know.


Images courtesy of:
DigitalImageServices.com

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