THE PHOTOGRAPHIC NEWS, September 21 1860. p.245
SCARCELY a day elapses but we receive numerous complaints of the difficulty of producing vigourous prints and good tones by the alkaline gold toning process. In the printing frame, if the negative be good, the pictures appear all that can be desired; the lights are pure, the shadows deep, gradation perfect, detail sharp; in short, a vigourous and satisfactory print is produced. The same print, however, after toning and fixing is often too blue or too red in colour; is flat and wanting in vigour; looks, in fact, to use a Yankee's description of the result, as if "the toning had whittled off the corners of the image, destroying a certain amount of sharpness." We are induced, therefore, to lay before our readers the following brief statement of the printing and toning manipulations used by Mr. J. C. Leake, jun., printer to one of our first metropolitan photographic establishments. We do not offer them as possessing any feature of especial novelty, they are, on the contrary, merely an embodiment of the various formulae that have from time to time been published in these pages. Their merit consists in the fact that they are attended with universal success. We are familiar with the results ; and can assure our readers of their uniform excellence in vigour and richness of tone. The details are similar to those of our own practice, by which we have generally been able to get any tone from a warm purple brown to a deep black. We prefer to give them as stated by this gentleman, because of the guarantee to our readers afforded by the writer's production of some hundreds of perfect prints every week.
The Paper-- should be good genuine saxe ; each sheet should be examined and carefully selected free from metallic spots. The right side should be marked with a pencil at one corner ; and if a very fine surface be required it should be sent to the hot-pressers to be rolled.
The albumen should be from fresh eggs. carefully separated from the yolk and germ. The proportions as o follows:-
|Chloride of Ammonium||300 grains.|
Dissolve the chloride in the water first, and then add it to the albumen, and beat up with a bunch of quills for fifteen or twenty minutes. This solution should be allowed to stand three or four days, and the upper portion poured off use in the following manner :--Pour the solution into a flat dish to the depth of half-an-inch, and draw off the scum a strip of paper. The dish I use for the purpose consists of a sheet of plate glass cemented into the rabbet of a frame of wood thus forming a disk with glass bottom end wooden edges. The advantage of the glass over porcelain consists in the fact, that when I work with sufficient light underneath the dish I can at once see if air bubbles are formed between the paper and the albumen, end easily remove them.
Now lay the smooth side of the paper down on the solution, carefully avoiding air-bubbles, as t have said, and allow it to remain for one minute lift it by the corners, and dry at a moderate distance from the fire.
The Sensitizing Solution is as follows
|Nitrate of silver||80 grains.|
|Distilled water||1 ounce.|
|Acetic acid, five drops to ten ounces of solution.|
Float on this solution for five minutes, and dry as before at a short distance from the fire.
Upon removal from the pressure frame, the prints should be placed in a dish of water and thoroughly washed, to remove the free nitrate of silver. This water should be changed several times, and to the last a tablespoonful of common salt should be added, to convert any remaining nitrate of silver into chloride.
The prints are now ready for immersion in the following toning bath
|Chloride of gold||1 grain.|
|Carbonate of soda, about.||5 grains.|
The quantity of carbonate of soda is not of strict importance, so that a moderately alkaline reaction is insured, without being sufficient to dissolve the size of the paper.
The prints are to be immersed in this solution, and be kept moving constantly to avoid air bubbles and consequent stains. When sufficiently toned, which will generally be in about three or four minutes, a little practice and judgment being necessary to determine the right point of colour, they are to be removed and well washed.
The Fixing Bath, in which they are next placed, is as follows:--
|Hyposulphite of soda||6 ounces.|
The fixation will probably be complete in from five to ten minutes, to insure which, each proof should be kept moving as directed in the toning bath. It should then be held up to the light and examined if there be no measly spots, and the print is evenly transparent, the operation is perfect. The fixing solution should not he used for more than two or three batches of prints.
The proof must now be well washed. To effect this place them in a flat dish, and give them at least a chosen changes of water under a tap, they may then be allowed to soak all night; then be well rinsed in cold, and finally iii hot water, and then dried.
In printing by this process it is well to observe the following precautions:-
1st.--The nitrate of silver bath should never be allowed to fall below sixty grains to the ounce.
2nd--The prints should not he immersed in the toning bath too many at one thee.
3rd.--The sensitizing, printing, toning, and fixing, should be performed on the same day.
One grain of chloride of gold will tone about four pictures, nine by seven.