While I was sorting through a set of 35mm colour slides a couple of days ago I found a small set of plastic slides with the name ORWO on them which brought back some memories for me. I remember using Orwo slide film in the 1980s when I worked at Marconi Instruments in St Albans; I remember it was very much cheaper than Kodachrome when bought in the shops, but my main reason for using it was because someone who worked in the Main Stores at Marconi was selling it even cheaper than usual.
I didn’t at the time question where he got his supply from, but I don’t think there was anything illegal about it. I think he was a prolific photographer who bought it in very large quantities at bulk prices, and sold some at a small profit when it got old so he could always have fresh supplied.
My main memory of Orwo film was that it was capable of very good quality with rich, saturated colours, but it was very tricky to get the exposure right. Normally, colour slide film has to be exposed very accurately to get good results, but Orwo went a step beyond the norm and I used to regularly get 4 or 5 slides in a set which were too dark.
I wasn’t particularly surprised when I scanned this set of slides therefore and found that the images reminded me exactly of the slides I used to get back from the processing lab; All the internal shots of the railway engines look to be under exposed and also have some colour shift. Of course, the fact that they are all about 40 years old could account for the colour shift, but my memory suggests that they probably haven’t changed much!
Orwo colour slide images
For the record, as far as I can tell, this images were taken at the Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum and although Orwo didn’t date their slides, I would suspect that they were probably taken in the early 1980s.