Grampa’s 1950s Time Capsule #2

1950s 35mm slide film

My second post on Grampa’s slides months after my first post; yes I did say that dealing with 35mm slides takes time.


A lot has happened since May 2016 but I made time last week to scan the first box of Grampa’s 35mm slide collection. Using the 5 step Family Knowledge Process I’ll run through the steps I’ve taken, but first let me briefly set the scene for my grampa’s Family Group that these slides belong to.

Grampa was born in 1892, imagine that I have known a person in my life that was born in the 1800’s.

Anyway William Black fought in World War One on the Western Front as an artillery gunner and survived 4 years’ of service in the Australian Imperial Forces. I posted an article about how to honour family keepsakes: 1916 – Our Generation Keeping Family Real – 2016 if you’d like to follow this story.

In 1923 he was married and in 1928 my dad was born. A few years later Dad had a sister and the family of four lived on into another World War, they made a family in Wollongong New South Wales. In the 1950s William retired and the two children left the nest.

These slides show in vivid color the life and times of an Australian 1950s and early 1960s in a period of great mobility and leisure for families and retirees alike.

Family collage of 1950s

Presenting family slides in a collage is a great way of showing feeling for the era.

Join me as I continue with these time capsules and follow me into a digital dreaming with this family group.


Here is the project so far using the 5 step process.

Step 1 – Create your Family Group Code

Allocate a Family Group Code and put  a recognised classification label to the project. William’s surname is Black and his wife’s was Thompson they founded (married) the in 1923. The Family Group code is : BlaTho192300

Step 2 – Sort and Classify your mementos

The purpose of this step is to do a fast estimate of the size of the project you’re undertaking.

Scope: This project involves scanning and classifying the two metal boxes left by William. First I’ll do a quick volume estimate of the slides I’ll need to scan. This idea is also covered in my article : Above all else, Take Stock

Each metal box has 12 separate compartments. Each compartment can hold about 15-20 slides (depending on thickness of slide frame).

35mm slides

Scanning slides takes time but can be worth the trouble.

With the compartments I’ve noticed all are not full and some slides have thicker plastic frames. Therefore some compartments contain 19 slides while others about 12 … so I’m assuming each compartment holds on average 15 slides.

Volume Estimate Calculation: 15 slides multiplied by 12 compartments equals 180 slides for each box – therefore times 2 boxes for an estimate of 360 slides to scan.

(15 * 12) = 180 and (180 * 2) = 360 slides

Time spent estimating volume less than 3 minutes. The value of doing the estimate is high as it sets a goal for you and is a vital step in taking control of the project.

Step 4 – Scan and File

The next step is to work out how much time it’s going to take to scan and save the slides. To do this step you’ll need to have your scanner ready and a timer.

For your estimate time yourself for 2 cycles of scanning. Start the timer when you commence loading the slides, scan the first round, then take these slides out and scan the next round, save all the images to your sorting folder and take the 2nd round of slides off the scanner and stop the timer when the files have been saved. This is the unit measurement used for calculating the time it will take to scan a set of slides for one family project.

Here’s how I did my estimate for my CanoScan 9000F at 4800 dpi. This calculation is also covered in part 2 of Digital Dreaming.

In 10 minutes I scanned and saved 8 slides to the sorting folder on my portable hard drive.

In an hour (6 lots of 10 minutes) I can scan 48 slides (6*8=48). 180 slides divided by 48 = 3.75 … so to scan 180 slides will take 3 hours and 45 minutes.

However allow time for doing cropping and auto image fix-ups. So I allocated 1.5 hours a day to scanning the slides and sorting them and filing them.

For any project involving slides I recommend saving the slides on the highest quality your scanner can offer. Yes it takes time but you don’t have to scan them all in one day. The 5 step process is designed for you to divide time to the project, set aside a block of time each day and scan in the allotted time.

I did this over three days and it ended up taking 6 hours to scan and present the first box. Scanning time was 4 hours as estimated, however I was so inspired by the photos I did research and removed major scratches and blemishes. Why? because I loved the photos and the colors.

Here are some selected favorites in the mosaic below.

I was connected to family by these photos … life and color so vivid I felt I was standing beside Grampa when he took these family treasures.

Here is a tip I set my scanning station up next to a TV and I multi-task. Listening to music also helps … if you are on sound cloud you can find an


Stay tuned for my next post in this series when we take a look at Step 3, journaling family events and looking at external events and the impact on family.


Thank you, and good luck with your family knowledge projects.


About Soul Assets

Soul Assets exists for a soul purpose, to educate families with survival skills to KEEP family knowledge in the Information Age. Soul Assets is the place for families to share skills of the Family Knowledge Process. Imagine, fifty years from now, people inheriting keepsakes that are welcomed by the next family because they were treasured as Soul Assets.