Reilly, James M. The Albumen & Salted Paper Book: The history and practice of photographic printing, 1840-1895. Light Impressions Corporation. Rochester, 1980.
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It does one good to think how photographers, even while exercising the new art for money, have pursued it with a generous ardor for its own sake, and emulate each other in the magnanimity with which they throw their own discoveries into the common heap, and scorn to check the progress of their art for any selfish motive.
--Henry Morley and W.H. Wills, 18531
Fortunately the processes described in this book belonged to an era of individual experimentation with photographic materials, and the results of these individual efforts were often reported openly in books and journals of the day. Of course, many individuals and companies did choose to retain secrets about the exact methods they used, but it is quite possible to obtain a good general picture of historical technical practice by reading original books, pamphlets, letters and journals. The following are some suggestions for further reading, together with some brief notes about the kind of information available from each source.
Fritz Wentzel, Memoirs of a Photochemist, American Museum of Photography, Philadelphia (1960). This wonderful book is perhaps the most complete and satisfactory introduction in the English language to the technical history of photographic materials. the chapters on printing-out papers are well written and extensively annotated. They are condensed from the author's own experiences as a production supervisor in many different photographic paper factories (beginning in 1914, when albumen paper was still being manufactured), and from his research for the work he co-authored with J.M. Eder, Die photographischen Kopirverfabren mit Silbersalzen (Positiv-Prozess), 1928 edition (see below).
Josef Maria Eder, The History of Photography, Columbia University Press, N. Y. (1945), trans. by Edward Epstean. Chapter 74 (pp. 534-539) of this monumental work deals with the history of printing-out processes with silver salts. This is an excellent place to begin a program of further study because it gives the landmark steps in the development of these processes and also provides the references where the first notice of these processes was published.
Josef Maria Eder and Fritz Wentzel, Die photographischen Kopirverfahren mit Silbersalzen (Positiv-Prozess), Wilhelm Knapp, Halle (1928). This book, which is also known as Book IV, Part I of the 3rd edition of J.M. Eder's multivolume Ausfuhrliches Handbuch der Photographie is the most complete technical and historical account of silver printing-out processes ever written. Unfortunately, it has never been translated into English. It and the references cited in it are the source of a great deal of the material in The Albumen and Salted Paper Book. Editions previous to the 1928 edition were authored by Eder alone, but thanks to the efforts of Dr. Fritz Wentzel, the 1928 edition is the largest and most complete.
Robert Hunt, A Manual of Photography, Richard Griffin & Co., Glasgow (1854), 4th edition. The many editions of Hunt's Manual of Photography offer a comprehensive glimpse of the state of photographic manipulation at these early dates, and include a great many recipes for different kinds of printing papers. This is a good work in which to see the diversity of photographic experimentation at this time.
Thomas Sutton, The Calotype Process, A Hand Book to Photography on Paper, Joseph Cundall, London (1855). Sutton's calotype manual was another often reprinted and updated work that--unlike Hunt's far-ranging Manual--concentrates on what appear to be the most tried and true methods of the day for paper negatives and positives. This book kept its popularity through at least 10 editions and seems fairly representative of general practice. The 1855 edition also contains directions for albumenizing paper.
W.H. Thornthwaite, A Guide to Photography, Home & Thornthwaite, London (1856), 10th ed Thornthwaite's Guides were also extremely popular and influential during the early 1850's. Either this work or Sutton's The Calotype Process will provide a good introduction to the printing techniques of the period.
Henry Peach Robinson and William DeWiveleslie Abney, The Art and Practice of Silver Printing, E. & H. T. Anthony, N. Y. (1881). This fine book is one of the best general texts On albumen and salted paper printing written in the 19th century. It is also very accessible to modern readers because it is part of the Arno Press reprint series of historical photographic books.
John Towler, The Silver Sunbeam, Joseph H. Ladd, N. Y. (1864). Towler's Silver Sunbeam is available in a reprint edition from Morgan & Morgan (1969) and contains a good general account of albumen and salted paper printing. Although it does not give as detailed a treatment of printing processes as Robinson and Abney's book does, it conveys a representative technical account of albumen printing in the Civil War era. It proved to be a very influential book in its own time.
Hermann W. Vogel, Handbook of the Practice and Art of Photography, Benerman & Wilson, Philadelphia (1875), 2nd edition. Vogel's Handbook was an English translation of a German original that was one of the best and most influential books on photographic technique written in the 19th century. It was as influential all over the world during the 1870's as Towler's Silver Sunbeam had been in America during the 1860's. Like many manuals of the era it does not contain a great deal about the methods used to prepare albumen paper, but there is much in it on the use of albumen paper. This reflects the shift to factory-coated albumen paper which was virtually complete by the year 1870.
Matthew Carey Lea, A Manual of Photography, privately printed for the author, Philadelphia (1871), 2nd edition. M. Carey Lea's Manual was the American equivalent to Vogel's Handbook. In fact, the two men were similarly regarded as among the most brilliant and learned men on photography in their respective countries. Both had reputations as eminent scientists and made basic discoveries that advanced the progress of photography. The general manuals that each wrote are also similar in scope and content (although in later years Vogel's Handbook expanded into 2 volumes in the German editions), and a comparison of the two is instructive regarding the approaches to photography in the United States and Germany in the 1870's.
Charles W. Hearn, The Practical Printer, Benerman & Wilson, Philadelphia (1874). Most of the other books on albumen printing in this list were written for professional photographers; this is one written by a professional photographer, who worked his way up from a studio apprentice to become a national authority on silver printing. The book is a very comprehensive treatment of the operations of printing with albumen and salted papers as it was actually done in American galleries of the 1870's. In addition to the usual recipes, etc., Hearn's own experiences are anecdotally recounted through the book, and his writing has a unique, down-to-earth style.
Arthur Freiherr von Hübl, Der Silberdruck auf Salzpapier, Wilhelm Knapp, Halle (1896). There is probably no more comprehensive and useful book about matte salted papers than Hübl's classic, Der Silberdruck auf Salzpapier (Silver Printing with Salted Papers). This was one of the most influential technical books published in connection with the revival of salted papers that took place at the end of the 19th century. Although no English translation was ever published, Hübl's style is simple and direct enough that a determined non-German speaking reader (armed with a German dictionary and perhaps a smattering of the German language) can obtain a great deal of useful information from the book. The book is divided into two parts, a theoretical section and a collection of recipes, and both parts are first rate in their scope and utility.
Lyonel Clark, Platinum Toning, Hazell, Watson & Viney, London (1890). Lyonel Clark was a very important figure in the revival of matte salted papers in the 1890's, and he contributed greatly to their popularity by pioneering the use of platinum toning for silver printing-out papers. The brown and black tones resulting from the use of platinum toners harmonized well with the other qualities of matte salted papers. Much more comprehensive than the title indicates, Clark's book was well received and functioned as the technical and aesthetic guidebook for the salted paper revival in the English-speaking world. Platinum Toning is sprinkled with the acerbic observations of the photographic scene for which Clark was well known. One example:
Photographic amateurs are, I regret to say, an extremely lazy lot, with an increasing and morbid desire to produce quantity an appetite largely encouraged by the pack of traders and process-mongers who live on their prey's credulity. (pp. 38-39)
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