THE PHOTOGRAPHIC NEWS, Vol. I. No. 26. March 4, 1859


THE following is the process which Mr. Maxwell Lyte sent to the last meeting of the French Photographic Society.

This process is equally good for every kind of paper, albumenised or simply salted. Its colouring properties are remarkable, especially when used for proofs on albumenised paper, which often fail with the ordinary processes of colouring employed.

The process is as follows :--Sensitise the paper as usual on a nitrate of silver bath, at 20 per cent., and print in the ordinary way; only, it is better to overprint it a little. Then place the proof in a dish of water in order to free it from the greater part of its nitrate; put it, afterwards, in a dish of salted water, and leave it there from five to ten minutes. The object of this bath is, to convert every trace of free nitrate that might have been left in it by the first bath into chloride. This bath is essential to prevent the decomposition of the following bath, in which the proof is to be next placed. This bath is composed as follows :--

Sesquichloride of gold

15 grains.

Phosphate of soda (the purified tribasic phosphate of commerce)

300 grains.

Distilled water

1¾ pints.

N.B. This bath ought to be completely neutral, or, at all events, rather alkaline than acid. If it should be acid, it is a sign that the chloride of gold was not properly prepared.

As soon as placed in this bath, the tone of the proof begins to change, and passes rapidly from red to purple, violet, and black; at the same time, the solarised parts of the proof lose their dead tone, and all their details are developed in an astonishing manner.

The colouring may be arrested at any moment. If it be stopped at the purple tone, the proof will appear sepia after the operation, if stopped at the black tone, it is rather black or grey. After this bath, the proof is put in a new hyposulphite of soda bath, of 20 per cent., in which -a little Spanish white has been put in suspension, and finished as usual.

These proofs are so stable that they resist the action of a cyanide of potassium bath for a very long time.

The great advantages of this process are--1. The colouring bath is perfectly neutral, and cannot produce any decomposition in the hyposulphite of soda; 2. The colour is entirely produced by the gold, which has hitherto been considered the most certain means of colouring, since the proof is not in contact with the hyposulphite until after it has received its colour. Finally, there does not exist in the bath any organic acid to determine its spontaneous decomposition, and the precipitation of the gold in a metallic state.

The colouring bath described above may be prepared beforehand, it does not decompose by keeping if care be taken that none of that used is returned to the bottle. It is likewise very economical, since with 15 grains of chloride of gold, sixty or seventy pictures, 24 X 30, may be coloured. In order to make sure that no traces of gold that may be left in the bath after use shall be lost, the remains of these baths should be poured into a bottle containing some bits of copper.

180 grains of borax may be substituted for phosphate of soda with a like result.

The proofs sent by Mr. M. Lyte, with his communication, were pronounced to be equal in brilliancy and colouring to those obtained by the process of toning with alkaline salts of gold.