THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY. August 19, 1864, p.311
To the EDITORS.
DEAR SIRS,--I am always averse to rushing into print in anyway that might be considered as trespassing upon the proper advertising columns; but there is a statement in your last number (page 290) that, as a manufacturer of albumenised. paper, I do not like to leave unchallenged.
On that page you state, in an article on Albumenised Paper, that "It is a well-known fact* that albumenised paper degenerates after it has passed a certain age, and then keeps on degenerating till it is good for nothing."
Although I do not question the fact that, much albumenised paper has deteriorated by keeping, I hope to be able to show you shortly that albumenised paper does not necessarily deteriorate by keeping for as long a period as two years or more (long enough, I think, for all ordinary purposes of the argument), if proper care has been taken with the condition of the albumen at the time the paper was prepared, and that, supposing the paper to have been properly treated in the first instance, its deterioration will depend upon the CARE with which it, has been preserved rather than upon the LENGTH OF TIME which has elapsed since its preparation.
I will not allude further at present to your remarks in the same article, except to say that, as far as noting the date and method of preparation on each sheet" is concerned, I do not think there would be much difficulty in the matter, although, from the time occupied, it might cause some additional cost to the consumer; but I am doubtful if it would be of the universal advantage you imagine.--I am, yours, &c.,JOHN A. SPENCER.
* The italics are- are mine.--J. A. S.
[The opinion of Mr. Spencer on matters connected with albumenised paper we receive with that respect due to such a high authority; but we are not inclined to retract a single expression contained in the article referred to. We are perfectly certain that albumenised paper does deteriorate by age, and we are also fully aware that this deterioration proceeds with a rapidity proportional to the care bestowed on its preservation. In a damp, and open atmosphere it goes on rapidly; in a dry place, shut out from the ,air, very slowly. The difficulty lies here--a photographer purchases, say a quire of paper, from a chemist, which, be is assured, is of the best quality. Perhaps it has at one time been so, but from lying long in stock, or from being kept carelessly in a damp room, it may now be worthless, The maker's reputation is thereby damaged, however careful he may have been to select the best paper and albumenise it with the best materials. He does not indeed know how it has been treated after its removal from .his own stock.-- EDS.]