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Neil Miller View Drop Down

Joined: 03 May 2006
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Kodak Manual
    Posted: 21 August 2007 at 03:39
While going through the new postings on APUG, I noticed this link:

which is to an old, out-of-copyright Kodak manual, which can be downloaded as a pdf and also in some other formats.  It is by the Rev. W. H. Burbank and was printed in 1888.

It contains chapters on collodion wetplate and dryplate, as well as calotype, albumen and gelatine.

There is some interesting wetplate info, such as how to use sodium chloride to exactly ascertain the silver content of the silver bath, collodion and developer formulae, plus face-up and face-down sensitisation in trays as opposed to tanks.

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admin View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 August 2007 at 06:27

Excellent find Neil. Thanks for posting. I've read through this and found some very interesting things (IMO).

On History

As Martin Becka pointed out to me during my visit with him last June in Paris, La Gray was the first to suggest Collodion as a replacement for Albumen. However, Archer and Diamond (Diamond was my reason/his work for getting into wet plate) received credit, as well they should.

On Solvents

This manual says, "Many modifications may be made in the film by altering the proportions of the solvents. Up to a certain point an increase in the quantity of alcohol confers greater sensitiveness and density. It must not be too largely in excess, however, or tender, porous films will result. An excess of ether gives strong, contractile films, which are easily stripped from the glass."(52) This is exactly what I've found to be the case with "no ether" Collodion versus the "ether added" Collodion. I don't like it without added ether.

On Salts

The devil is in the details here. I like how this is written and how straight-forward the combinations/effects are:

"Obviously only those iodides and bromides can be used, which are soluble in alcohol and ether. Those most commonly employed are the iodides and bromides of potassium, ammonium, calcium, cadmium, sodium, and, more rarely, lithium.

Cadmium, although very soluble and giving a collodion of good keeping qualities, has a tendency to thicken the film,
and must, therefore, be used with caution and only in connection with other salts. The iodides of potassium and ammonium give more intense images than the iodide of cadmium, but they are not so soluble and the resulting collodion does not keep so well.

The salts of sodium and lithium are but rarely used on account of their decomposing action. A collodion containing iodide alone gives great density with little detail in the shadows, one containing bromide only gives less density but more detail in the shadows. For this reason the common practice is to use mixed collodion for general work to secure both density and detail." (52,53)

Different Collodions

On page 55 they give Mr. Carbutt's recipes for these conditions:
"For special use these collodions are mixed in the following proportions:
For interiors and dimly lighted subjects, two parts iodized to one part bromized.
For quick exposures, three parts iodized to one part bromized.
For copying and process work, five parts iodized to one part bromized.
Mr. Carbutt states that this collodion should be allowed to ripen for six or eight weeks before it is used. If a few drops of tincture of iodine are added, it will be in good working order in a few days

Common Defects

On page 64 they go over the common defects for negatives.
"Defects. The most common defects in collodion negatives are the following :

Fog: due to dirty plates; to want of acid in the developer; to over-exposure ; to an alkaline bath solution ; to improper exposure to white light ; to vapors in the developing-room.

Weak images : due to a poor collodion; to a weak sensitizing solution ; to a bath charged with organic matter ; to bad lighting of the subject ; to an over-strong developer.

Pin-holes : due to dust on the plate ; to an over or under-iodized bath.

Black specks : due to dust in the camera, slide, darkroom,or collodion.

Comet-like spots : due to undissolved particles of pyroxyline in the collodion.

Transparent spots : due to dust in the collodion.

Scum on the film: the plate has been kept too long out of the bath ; or the developer was too strong.

Wavy lines on the film : either the collodion contains too much iodide or alcohol, or the pyroxyline is too strong.

Transparent markings : due to unequal sensitizing, or to the developer refusing to flow.

Blurring of the image : due to reflections from the back of the plate ; it may be diminished by coating the back of the plate with some non- actinic color, such as sienna, mixed in gum-water."

I highly recommend downloading, reading, printing and putting a copy in your library.

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unrealalex View Drop Down

Joined: 11 July 2006
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 August 2007 at 08:23
If you try to search on this site you will find mach more intresting books. AND%20subject%3A%22Photography%22&page=1

We do the impossible every day. Miracles take a little longer.
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richard Mellor View Drop Down

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 August 2007 at 09:13
This is truly a goldmine of information  and a fantastic concept for a non profit web site .  Thank you for the link Neil .
What a great site .It gives you the option of a number of formats to view the books .
I like  the flip book format.

" The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections."
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