Autochromes Lumière

Serial Production of the Étiquette bleue Plates

In 1889, the factory was producing 1,500 dozen, 13x18cm format plates daily ? or at least their equivalence in surface. We know that the Étiquette bleue plates were marketed in 18 different formats, ranging from 6x8cm to 50x60cm.

From 1890, the factory would produce 350,000 dozen plates. The Lumières continued to buy the sites neighbouring the factory all along the cours Gambetta. They constructed new workshops, single-storied with cement slabs or asphalt flooring. The laboratories were darkened using a black varnish on the walls and illuminated by green lamps (which was preferable to red, a colour that provoked visual problems for the workers), so that it was unnecessary to cover the photosensitive surfaces during the course of treatment. Investigations conducted by the municipal archives of Lyon revealed that there were 34 planning permission requests for the Lumière factories between 1903 and 1925. Examining these permits shows us that the "factories" were at first simple warehouses, which the two Lumière brothers would completely transform by "automating" them.

The manufacture of photosensitive citrate and silver gelatino-bromide papers began in 1892. These papers were met with great success in the eyes of amateurs as well as professional photographers.

It was in September 1899 that Antoine Lumière had his villa built on the corner of rue Saint-Victor and place Ambroise Courtois, according to the plans of the architects, Alex and Boucher. This imposing house, adjacent the Lumière factories, was comprised of three storeys, an artist's studio, a winter garden and a number of open terraces. The Château Lumière was completed in 1901. In 1986 the collection of buildings was designated a historic monument and has housed the headquarters of the Institut Lumière since 1988.

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