Rochester Gas & Electric Lantern Slides

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Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slides
Creator: Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation
Call Number: D.604
Dates: 1932-1960s
Physical Description: 20 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Processing Information
Related Materials
Content List
Box 1 Box 1
Box 2 Box 2
Box 3 Box 3
Box 4 Box 4
Box 5 Box 5
Box 6 Box 6
Box 7 Box 7
Box 8 Box 8
Box 9 Box 9
Box 10 Box 10
Box 11 Box 11
Box 12 Lantern slides in latched boxes (Boxes 12-15)
Box 13 Original Kodak boxes and lantern slide housing (Boxes 16-19)
Box 14
Collection Overview
Title: Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slides
Creator: Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation
Call Number: D.604
Dates: 1932-1960s
Physical Description: 20 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) is a utilities service company serving 378,500 electricity customers and 313,000 natural gas customers across nine counties in Western New York State, centered in Rochester. The company is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, which owns other similar utilities companies across the American northeast.

The company was originally formed as the Rochester Gas Light Company in the mid-1800s (between 1834-1848), and in 1892 joined with the Rochester Electric Light Company and Edison Electric to form the Rochester Gas and Electric Company. Edison Electric was among the first of the American power utility companies to install underground electric wiring as an alternative to aerial power lines, and also the first to use meters to track electricity usage. In 1904 the merger with the Rochester Railway and Light Company formed the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation, under which all the region's power utilities were united. The railways were transferred away in 1919, and the company became completely independent some thirty years later in 1949.

The company grew rapidly as the demand for electricity and gas power grew after WWI, and was one of the few companies which did not have to ration its supply to its customers during WWII. In 1952, after the discovery of rich natural gas deposits in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, RG&E switched to natural rather than manufactured gas, which was made from refining the fumes from burning coal. By 1956 the company served some 150,000 customers.

Scope and Content
The Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slide collection consists of nineteen boxes containing approximately 500 glass lantern slides with photographs taken by RG&E from approximately 1932 to some time in the 1960s. A twentieth box includes black and white photos and newspaper clippings. The images have not yet been fully described.

Writing included on the original slide boxes often identifies RG&E workers and staff who may have commissioned or taken the photographs, or used the slides in their work, as well as the dates and subject content of the photographs. Topics include the Inner and Outer Loop (Interstate 490, which serves the Rochester area), street lighting, natural gas flames, electrical workers and work, equipment and machinery, residential streets and buildings, dams, presentation slides, drawings and cartoons, maps and diagrams, and portraits of people, including some contemporary with WWI and the Victorian era.

Many of the original lantern slide boxes are included, showing that the slides were produced by the Eastman Kodak Company. There are both early "gray" Eastman-Kodak lantern slide boxes and the later "yellow" Kodak lantern slide boxes included.

One binder of additional non-slide materials include photographs of company events, including award ceremonies and the company's baseball team (undated), negatives of photos which may have been part of lantern slides at one point, and a collection of newspaper clippings from 1932 with articles about the company.

At the current time, the finding aid is organized by archival box number. The lantern slides have been removed from their original Kodak plate boxes and individually cleaned and sleeved. Dividers have been placed in the archival boxes to keep the contents of each plate box together, but each archival box contains between four and five plate boxes' worth of slides. As further detail can be added about the individual slides, an improved organization which groups together pertinent images can be instituted.

New York (State)--Rochester
Electric utilities
Electric industry workers
Gas industry
Electrical engineering
Photographic plates
Lantern slides
Processing Information
As the majority of the 500+ images in the Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slide collection are undescribed, the materials were selected as a good candidate for digital imaging and outreach to the community for identification. In 2020, student Evelyn Pineda undertook a pilot project to build the , where the cleaned and imaged slides can be viewed. At this time, only two of the nineteen boxes of slides have been imaged and described. While delays due to Covid and the pandemic climate have set the project back, the intention is still to complete imaging and making the slides accessible via the website. Identification and updated details suggested by community members who recognize the contents of the images will be added to this finding aid as possible.Access
The Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slides is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Rochester Gas & Electric lantern slides, D.604, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
Visit the The Rochester Gas & Electric Lantern Slide Collection digital exhibit to see imaged slides, add information about their contents, and learn more about the digital project.

Administrative Information
Author: Lev Earle
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055

Finding aid publication date: September 2022
Content List
Box 1Box 1
Features photographs of machinery, labs, houses, house plans, and construction. Cleaned September 2022.

Box 2Box 2
Contains images of maps, exterior photographs, laboratory setups, people, and a possible picnic outing. Cleaned September 2022.

Box 3Box 3
Contains images of RG&E's chemical laboratory, people, construction sites, RG&E's turbine room, floor plans, and equipment. Cleaned September 2022.

Box 4Box 4
Contains images of smokestacks, WNBT NBC test pattern, graphs of sales and number of customers, downtown Rochester buildings, machinery. Cleaned October 2022.

Box 5Box 5
Batteries/circuits, people, rooms, powerlines, graphs of levels of energy supply, flames, fallen powerlines.

The slides in this box have been fully imaged and can be viewed on the RG&E lantern slide collection site.

Box 6Box 6
Laboratories, streets (including Hillside Avenue), E&G company transmission system, education cartoons, equipment, powerlines, old radios, heating systems, maps.

Box 7Box 7
East Ave - Allen Creek in Brighton, floor plans, ventilation plans, equipment, people, machinery, data on water.

Box 8Box 8
Box 9Box 9
People, powerlines, slaughterhouse, building structures, circuits, workspaces, equipment, pipes.

Box 10Box 10
Flames, diagrams, photos of houses and men working, Greece, Irondequoit, processes and equipment, old cars, dams, education cartoons, setup of a kitchen for a TV shoot, early 1900s boys group photo, gas masks.

Box 11Box 11
Contains images of maps, growth charts, General Motors, ventilation schematics, dams on the Genesee and Niagara. Cleaned December 2022.

Box 12Lantern slides in latched boxes (Boxes 12-15)
Station 3, Station 5, dams, diagrams and photos.

Box 13Original Kodak boxes and lantern slide housing (Boxes 16-19)
Empty Kodak slide boxes with metadata information, empty boxes from sleeved slides. These boxes originally contained the slides, which were removed, cleaned, wrapped separately for safety, and boxed in the first 15 boxes of this collection. There are no slides housed in Boxes 16-19.

Box 14
One 2.5" letter box of printed photographs, including photos of the RG&E baseball team, a company party, a selection of the company's old trucks, and an envelope of negatives. One folder of scrapbook pages with newspaper clippings, largely from July 1932.

Box 14, Folder 1RG&E baseball team
Box 14, Folder 2RG&E party, undated
Box 14, Folder 3-5RG&E trucks
Box 14, Folder 6RG&E negatives
Box 14, Folder 7RG&E Clippings
Box 14, Folder 8RG&E Newsclippings

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