THE PHOTOGRAPHIC NEWS, November 16, 1860, p.341



THERE is some attention required to see that all the parts are printing equally. You will find in some negatives parts which runt too rapidly: ethers--as in the ease of groups, some being in the foreground--get overdone, so as to make the impression on the paper destitute of light or shade. There should always exist a certain amount of difference between those in the foreground and those in the back, but not to the extent that at times is produced in the negative; of course, without that the picture will be flat and worthless. There is, the Yankee would say, who has been writing to one of the journals lately, a "little dodge which you may here practise." Take a large magnifying glass and held it up to the sun, letting the focus (not the burning point) full on the face or faces as the case may be. You can make the light large or small as you find it answer your purpose. The lens I use is about ten inches diameter; and I have found it of great service to me when there was anything white in the picture--such as a white dress, book, or letter--the details being visible when looking through the negative, but which would not print till all the rest of the picture was overdone. I don't lay down the use of the lens in this way as anything new: one cannot mention a thing which some one has not known before. I fear some of you may think I speak long about trifles. Your print is now ready for taking out of the printing frame. In appearance it should be what you would say "just too dark." Some paper gives way much in the after toning and fixing; others little or nothing: practice can be your only guide. If you can be ready for toning in an hour or two lay the print down on water (face downwards) for about five minutes. This water should be kept till you have floated a number of prints on it; then throw it into a large kept for waste silver solutions, in the jar you may have some pieces of copper, which will reduce the nitrate to the metallic state. When you have a stock of it you may wash it and dissolve it in nitric acid; it will be quite good for the paper silver bath. Upon no account should the prints be immersed in the first washing water, as it would cause liability to stains, there being so much difficulty in removing the free nitrate out of the paper and it throws down a quantity of the gold in the toning solution. After floating the proof on the first water, lift it up and plunge it into water kept constantly changing: a self-acting tray you will find a great advantage. Having turned them about three or four times in the hour or two they lie in the water, they are ready for toning.

Arrange now all your trays, side by side:--first your toning tray set inside another so that you may pour warm water about the toning tray at pleasure; secondly a tray with clean water; thirdly the tray with the fixing solution. Toning solution :--chloride of gold in solution (one grain to the drachm of water) one drachm; water about two ounces : then drop in a piece of litmus paper which at first will be reddened: then take a saturated solution of carbonate of soda, and add till the litmus us brought to its blue colour--any more has a tendency to soften the prints. Throw it then into your toning tray. This is by far the best toning bath, as it combines simplicity with certainty. The fixing bath is as follows :-- Hypo of 'soda 6 oz.; water 20 oz. Pour in as much as will cover the prints you have to tone--more is not required. Do not use the fixing bath twice, as there is no certainty of getting well-fixed prints after it has been once used. I have often found them turn yellow; if not at the time after a day or two. It is so pleasant to see pure whites, one should not grumble to spend a few pence in securing them.

In toning the print, lift it out of the water and pop it into the toning tray: keep it in constant motion with your left band. When it is rather darker than you would like it to remain, lift it out with the left hand, give it a rinse through the water with the right hand ; then through the fixing bath, letting it lie for fifteen minutes with occasional turning so as to insure its being well fixed. If air bubbles get between the print and soda, they will cause spots from imperfect fixing. Some may wonder how I say, take the left hand for toning and the right for fixing. Were you to knock the hand into the gold solution that had been in the hyposulphite of soda it would deposit all your gold. I believe that through this very small matter the manufacturer is blamed when the bath will not tone more than two or three prints when it should have toned six at least.

I now go on with the toning of the other prints, working with the solution first made, till it becomes rather slow; when by pouring hot water about it, it starts off again: and so on till the last of the gold is wrought up. The prints having been left in the hyposulphite of soda for fifteen minutes, put them into water kept constantly changed (as before stated in a self-acting tray). Having allowed them to have two or three changes of cold water, then turn on the hot--say about blood heat : keep them constantly moving about for twenty minutes or so. You may now turn off the hot and let in the cold water for an hour or two; then allow them to soak all night, when you may turn on the water for air hour or two again. Some recommend that the prints should be dried off between folds of blotting-paper: that I think unnecessary. Hang them then over a line to dry; when dry they are ready for mounting.

Though the mounting of the prints does not exactly come under this head, yet I may be allowed to say a few words on so important a subject. After the prints are dry the first thing is to cover them over with patent starch paste: they are then dried, trimmed on the edges, and are ready or mounting on cardboard. Having a lithographic press all ready, take a wet sponge and cover all over the cardboard. Lay the print you are to mount on the cardboard in its right place, holding the two together till you lay them face downwards on the stone: now put down the tympan, and one pull through will make them adhere, so that no amount of labour can take them off. In this way I can mount and press about 100 (8½ by 6½) prints in one hour. There is another advantage in this mode--the boards do not turn up so much.