Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Over-printed self-toning paper.

           With some of the more recent batches of self-toning paper we have noticed a lack of uniformity. One batch that we were using lost very considerably in the fixing-bath, with the result that printing had to be carried much deeper in order to ensure the finished print being of the requisite depth and of a good colour. A later batch, upon fixing the first print or two, showed that it was one in which the prints lost very little, and we at first thought that owing to this difference the whole of the untoned and fixed prints (a very large number) were spoiled through the printing being carried too deeply. They were, however, saved in the following way. A bath containing 4 ozs. common salt in 10 of water was made up and the prints previous to fixing were placed in this for about fifteen minutes. Upon transferring to the ordinary fixing-bath they lost a good deal of depth, being reduced to just the right quality. The tone, of course, was modified, being of a cold black, and equal in every way to platinum-toned P.O. P. In fact, it is so satisfactory that many may decide to finish all their self-toning prints in this way instead of in the ordinary sepia that is so common. We wonder that more users of self-toning paper, and especially the collodion emulsions, do not favour this method more, as it yields prints of delightful richness and quality.

Describing second–hand goods.

           Those who have at any time had occasion to study the second-hand market must have found that many advertisers, both dealers and private individuals, frequently leave much to be desired in describing the goods that are for disposal. Take the case of apparatus with which the general photographer is not very familiar or that of an older pattern not to be found listed in any of the catalogues issued within the last ten years. We recently saw advertised, "A fine half-plate camera by - (naming a maker of a score of years ago), with two slides, no lens." This kind of advertisement, it must be admitted, gives little or no information as to the instrument for disposal, whether it is of single, double, or triple extension, whether it has a turn or tilting table, or a rising front or swing back, details that any practical worker purchasing a camera requires to have for his consideration. An older photographer might know that particular pattern even from the inadequate description giveu, but a modem worker certainly would not unless he happened to have catalogues hand of a score of years back. We have even seen lenses listed by first-class firms with a reputation for second-hand goods from which the aperture, focal length, and other important details were omitted. Advertisers of second-hand photographic apparatus will do well to put themselves in the position of the buyer when drafting out details of their goods, giving just those full details that they themselves would wish to have: a few words should not be omitted if their inclusion would give fulness to the description. It may be that an advertisement giving full information will be seen by a buyer on the look-out for the particular model of the" apparatus described, whereas he would not take the trouble to write to the vendor, if the goods were not fully detailed, for fuller particulars.

Rubber Stamps.

           As a rule a rubber stamp impression upon a mount gives an idea of cheapness, and quite spoils the effect of what might otherwise be an excellent production. This, like many other things, is due to a want of knowledge of the capabilities of our materials. To many people a rubber stamp is oval or circular in. form, the type plain black, and the colour of ink violet, and as far as ordinary office work is concerned these conditions are doubtless satisfactory. It is, however, quite possible to employ rubber stamps in such a way that they may be impressed upon the highest class of mount without being distinguished from lithographic or typographic work. In an instance which recently came under our notice a photographer used a steel die of his signature and town for stamping his mounts or prints. From this he had electros made which were used for printing upon mounts in brown ink. Finding the need for occasionally marking odd mounts and enlargements he sent the original die to a rubber stamp maker and received a rubber facsimile with box, pad and brown ink complete. With this outfit it was possible to sign mounts without causing anything unusual in their appearance. We have also seen the well-known square label form of address, "A portrait from the studio of - ," reproduced in the same way, the result being quite satisfactory. The secret of getting good impressions is to keep the pad and stamp free from dust. An old toothbrush is excellent for keeping the stamp clean, while the pad should be scraped the right way of the material with a blunt knife. When fresh ink is applied it should be well rubbed into the pad and allowed to remain for an hour or so before using. When long narrow stamps have to be used it is a good plan to have a small brass prong projecting from one side of the plate, so as to form two little feet, on which the stamp will stand squarely. These feet also afford a good means of keeping the lettering in correct alignment with the edge of the print.

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