Recently I bought a Kodak No2 Box Brownie on ebay with the intention of hacking it about for a project. Don’t worry, it was listed as broken and indeed the shutter was shot - I wouldn’t destroy a functioning camera!
Whilst cleaning the camera I opened it up and found that it still had a roll of film inside. The film label stated it was Ilford HP3 Panchromatic, which turns out to be a forerunner to the current HP5 film, first introduced in 1942 before being replaced by HP4 in 1965.
I’ve never processed old film before, and at between 40 and 50 years old, this film was pretty damn old. However, google revealed that in similar situations, this type of film had produced decent results. Following the advice of others, I decided to develop the film in ID-11 for double the length of time stated for HP5 Plus (the modern equivalent of this film).
I was worried that the film would be brittle or that the emulsion would have crumbled off, but aside from being very curly and a little tacky, the film loaded and developed just fine. I think that double the time might have been too much, as the film came out very dark, but otherwise it was ok.
So, what was on the roll? Well half of it contained pictures of an extensio being built on a house, and the other half were shots of some deep snow drifts and trees. Not hugely exciting but interesting none the less. I’m going to contact the ebay seller and see if they want the negatives, I’ll also email them the hi-res scans that I’ve made.
You can see the whole set of images on my flickr account.