Mayer Notebook

< Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation: films and documents

Marcel Mayer’s handwritten notebook is one of the key documents bearing witness to the film industry’s history. Like other documents preserved by the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, it attests to the importance of research and to the exchanges between the teams of a factory, revealing – through its many bath formulas, its detailed descriptions of clever film formats and remarkably complex and efficient equipment – the role of engineers, department directors and staff. To facilitate its reading, the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé wished to present it annotated. This work was carried out under the direction of Anne Gourdet-Marès and Jacques Malthête, with the participation of Camille Blot-Wellens and Stéphanie Salmon.

The Mayer notebook, which bears the name of its last owner, is a handwritten document the size of a pocket notebook, used mainly in the 1920s. It has a special place in the archives of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, as it contains notes on the Joinville Pathé plant and a very large number of unpublished formulas related mainly to the manufacture of film emulsions, and negative and positive processing and coloring in Pathé’s workshops.

The Foundation has also made 143 engineering notebooks available for reference, including reports written at Pathé between 1906 and the early 1930s. These reports concern research and development, as well as the application of numerous manufacturing techniques. Preserved by the CECIL Association (Chalons sur Marne), they have been digitized by the Foundation and have been the subject of two symposia and a publication, Recherche et innovation dans l’industrie du cinéma, les cahiers des ingénieurs Pathé (1906-1927).