-Project-Recovery of Dry Plates

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation’s Yawata Steel Works



Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation's Yawata Steel Works was inscibed on the World Heritage list in 2015.

Yawata Steel Works holds approximately 5,300 glass photographic dry glass plates depicting the site after its opening as a government-run steel works in 1897, including images of the steel works' construction, construction of the blast furnaces and other individual plants, completion of the works' construction, and visits to the steel works by various Japanese and foreign important persons.

The glass dry plates measure 10 inches × 12 inches (254mm × 305mm). The amount of information they contain is huge, corresponding to hundreds of millions of pixels.

Using the latest technologies, we have succeeded in converting all of the images on these glass dry plates into high-resolution digital data.

This image provides an example of the results of our digitization project. Taken on top of the foundations of No. 2 Blast Furnace, this photograph commemorates a visit by Hirobumi Ito, Japan's first Prime Minister (though he was not in office at the time the photo was taken), on April 24, 1900. The resolution of the data is high enough for each individual face on this large panel to be clearly discernible.

In addition to these glass photographic plates, plan drawings and various documents dating from the time of the site's construction are held in the archives under carefully controlled conditions of temperature and humidity. This digitization project will further ensure that these precious records are preserved for future generations.

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