Thursday, June 5, 2008

EX CATHEDRA: Stained Negatives; A Business Accessory; Photographic Apparatus at Auction Sales; A Home-Made Camera Case

Stained Negatives.

           We suppose that by far the greater majority of stained negatives which are sent to us for a diagnosis of the defect represent the result of incomplete fixation. Unfortunately a remedy for the brownish stain which is the product or insufficient treatment of the emulsion with hypo is an almost hopeless problem in comparison with such general stain which comes from development or even the patchy stains due to contact with a printing paper containing soluble silver. About the only suggestion which we can make for the removal or, at any rate, partial remedy of fixation stains is to intensify the negative with mercury and ammonia, or with Monckhoven's formula of mercury and silver cyanide. By either of these processes the yellowish stain is converted into a grey one 01 little printing value, and with the aid of a certain amount of local reduction of the intensified negative it is possible in some cases to arrive at a respectable result, but whenever circumstances permit of a second exposure being made, the making of another negative is the only remedy which should be thought of. The silver stains from damp paper are of rarer occurrence in these days of development papers, yet it may be added that a ready means of removing them is that of Mr. Harold Baker, of rubbing with Globe metal polish and then leaving for a sufficient time in a strong solution of hypo. This is a very much better and safer plan than the iodide and cyanide method, the drawback of which is that the solution attacks the image proper as well as the deposit of silver stain, and therefore calls for an exceptional degree of expertness in its application.

A Business Accessory.

           "A place for everything and everything in its place" is one of those maxims of our childhood on which too much importance cannot be laid in any business establishment. The waste of time and the mental irritation which arise from the inability to find something which "you know is there all the time" and is only hiding itself through some diabolical malice, are elements which one tries to eliminate from the day's work. Partitioning of drawers and cupboards and a system of labelling the places where articles in frequent use are to be put when they are finished with will go far to removing these causes of reduced output in the normal working hours. But the suggestion we have to make and it is one of which we have proved the utility relates to a means for preventing the straying of the odd messages and memoranda which are part of the machinery of any business. It is simply a place where notes that such-and-such an order is wanted urgently, or such-and-such a chemical is getting out of stock may be placed so that they cannot be overlooked; where, in fact, which is the important thing, they will be looked for. In our own office routine, which calls for many reminders, this takes the form of a good sized board covered with soft cork lino and provided with a supply of push pine. These serve to fix in an instant any memorandum which .needs to be displayed to view until it is dealt with. The board speedily becomes an institution to which one looks and which soon largely replaces verbal messages. It seems to us that good use could be made of one or two of these devices in businesses, such at that of photographic portraiture, where there is much reference from department to department.

Photographic Apparatus at Auction Sales.

           A short time ago we commented upon the advisability of intending purchasers of second-hand lenses being very careful to see that the lens offered to them in a certain mount was actually the instrument issued new by a particular maker. We recently heard of an experience in connection with lenses which goes far to point out the importance of the buyer knowing fully what he is purchasing. The case in point was en auction sale, and among other things, household furniture, etc., two lenses by a well-known maker were catalogued. A photographer whom we know attended the sale, and after having previously examined the two instruments to his satisfaction, though he was not aquatinted with the particular type of lens, bid for and purchased them for what was a fair sum. Of course, a trial upon a camera was not permissible, and his surprise may be judged when upon testing one of the instruments very indifferent definition was given. At some trouble the photographer got a catalogue illustration by the makers of the lens, and upon comparing the plan with his own instrument he found to his surprise that one of the components of the original instrument was absent altogether, which fact was made all the worse because the maker had long ago suspended business. And at a time like the present no others would be likely to take on such a job as supplying the missing component, even supposing such a thing was possible. This note is penned as a warning against those who may be tempted to buy photographic goods at general auction sales, which do not admit of a proper trial of the instruments catalogued. Such may turn out the reverse of a bargain, and as a general rule the purchaser has no redress, since most auctioneers in their conditions of sale hold themselves under no guarantee against errors of description.

A Home-Made Camera Case.

           Now that any goods of leather are so expensive it may be of service to some if we refer to a case for the camera outfit which we saw the other day for the making of which the photographer had used a substitute for leather which yielded a solid and yet slightly lighter case than that material. The case was made of ordinary three-ply wood, with a division for the slides, and the lid was fitted with lap-over edges in the same way as the best leather cases are made. The inside may be lined with thick green baize or thin felt, obtained from any upholsterer in a large way of business, and fastened with small gimp pins obtainable from the same source. The outside of the case was finished with a covering of good waterproof canvas fixed in position with dextrine paste, obtainable at any shoe or leather sellers, the edges of the canvas being turned over and fixed in position with the gimp pins before mentioned. To the bottom, four “Domes of Silence” furniture castors were fitted to keep the case off the ground, and so to reduce damage by its being placed for any time on wet ground. The case was made for less than a quarter the cost of one in solid leather, and weighs a few ounces lighter than leather case of the same size. Provided the joints are firmly screwed there is nothing to fear on the score of solidty. Moreover, such a case allows a more substantial lock and hasp to be fitted than if the article were made of the ordinary stout leather.

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