The Carbon Process
The carbon tissue is seldom prepared by photographers. However, for the
sake of completeness, we shall give the formula of the mixtures most
generally employed, and describe the manner of coating the paper on a
Preparation of the Tissue.--The gelatine generally recommended to
compound the mixture is the Nelson's autotype gelatine. Coignet's gold
label gelatine, mixed with a more soluble prod
ct, such as Cox's gelatine,
for example, gives also excellent results.
Gelatine 110 parts
Sugar 25 parts
Soap, dry 12 parts
Water 350 parts
The coloring substances consist of:
FOR ENGRAVING BLACK.
Lamp-black 20 parts
Crimson lake 2 parts
Indigo 1 part
FOR WARM BLACK.
Lamp-black 3 parts
Crimson lake 3 parts
Burnt amber 2 parts
Indigo 1 part
Lamp-black 2 parts
Sepia of Cologne 18 parts
FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC RED BROWN.
India ink 3 parts
Crimson lake 4 parts
Van Dyck brown 4 parts
For blue, Turnbull's blue is employed; for yellow, light chrome yellow;
for red, carmine dissolved in aqueous ammonia, evaporating, then adding
water, etc. (See further on.)
To prepare the mixture, dissolve the sugar and soap in the cold water, add
the gelatine, let it soak for an hour, then dissolve it in a water bath
and mix by small quantity the colors finely ground together and wetted to
the consistency of a paste. After filtering through flannel the mixture
is ready for use.
For coating, the method devised by Mr. Alf. Harman has been found
excellent in the hands of the writer, not only for the purpose in
question, but also for coating paper with gelatinous or viscous (gum
"Take two tin dishes, such as used for the development of the carbon
prints; arrange one on your bench tilted to an angle; the lower angle is
intended to receive the warm water for keeping the gelatine mixture to a
proper temperature. Into this angle of the tray arrange another tray
somewhat smaller, and keep it from touching the bottom of the outer one by
the insertion of any small article that will suggest itself. Into the
inner tray the gelatine mixture is to be poured."
"The actual making of the tissue can now be proceeded with, and is so
simple and certain as not to be believed until put to the test. Purchase
a roll of paper-hanger's lining paper of good quality, cut it into widths
of about one and a half inch less than the width of your inner tray, and
in length of, say, thirty inches. For the success of the operation it is
necessary that the paper be rolled up the narrow way. Now having just
sufficient water at a temperature of 100 deg. Fahr. (38 deg. C.) into the
outer tray, pour the gelatine mixture into the inner one, and take one of
the lengths of rolled paper, and, holding it by both ends, gently lower it
on the surface of the gelatine; then at once slowly raise the end of the
paper, which will unroll itself and become beautifully coated in far less
time than it takes to describe. Twenty sheets may be coated in a quarter
of an hour, and be equal in all respects to that made by the most
In the description of this method of coating, Mr. Harman does not explain
how the gelatine should be allowed to set before hanging up the paper to
dry, which is, however, obviously important. It is as follows: Place on
the tray a smooth board a little larger than the sheet of paper, leaving a
small space at the end furthest from the body, and slowly, without a stop,
draw off the paper, prepared side uppermost, on the board upon which it
should remain until the gelatine is set. If the paper curls up, wet the
back a little with a sponge before coating.
The following coating method, due to Mr. Chardon, is excellent for sheets
of paper of the ordinary photographic size, 18x22 inches.
On a glass plate placed on a leveled stand, is laid a sheet of paper
previously wetted, which is then flattened into contact with an India
rubber squeegee, taking care to remove the air bubbles interposed. The
quantity of gelatine necessary to coat the paper is regulated by means of
a glass rod held by an iron lath, which serves to handle it; at each end
of the rod is inserted a piece of an India rubber tube whose thickness
regulates that of the gelatine layer. The mixture is poured from a small
teapot, at the opening of which has been adapted a bent glass tube about
three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter, between the rod and the lath, so
that by a simultaneous motion, one can equalize the gelatine as it is
poured on. When the gelatine is set the paper is hung up to dry. In
drying, the gelatine contracts, and, necessarily, causes a deformation of
the tissue, which curls up at the edges and loses its planimetry. To
prevent this, while the gelatine is almost dry, the tissue is placed under
pressure until quite desiccated. Dumoulin advises to apply on the film,
while still soft and tacky, a wooden frame, which, by adhering to it.
keeps the tissue perfectly plane as it dries.
[Chardon's method of coating]
Sensitizing.--The tissue is sensitized in a bath of potassium bichromate.
The degree of concentration of the bath, which varies from 2 to 5 per
cent. of water, is important. The tissue sensitized in a weak bath is
less rapidly acted on by light and yields more contrasts than when imbued
in a concentrated one. The former should consequently be employed for
printing weak negatives, and the latter for those which are intense. A
bath compounded with 30 parts of potassium bichromate, 1,000 parts of
water and 2 parts of aqueous ammonia, is used for printing negatives of
the ordinary intensity, the tissue being, then practically of the same
sensitiveness, a silvered paper insolated to obtain a print not
over-exposed. For intense negatives the ammonia should be discarded and
replaced by the same quantity of chromic acid.
The time of immersion has also a certain influence on the results. The
less the tissue is allowed to absorb the solution the less sensitive it
is, but also the more the tendency of the half tints to be washed off
during the development. Generally the tissue should remain immersed until
it lies flat and the edges just commence to curl up, unless white and
black impressions are desired, but even then it is preferable to operate
as said above, using a bath at 2 per cent.
For use the bichromate bath should be cooled down to 15 deg. C. (59 deg.
Fahr.), and much lower in summer, say 10 deg. C. (50 deg. Fahr.), and kept
at about this temperature by placing pieces of ice around the tray. At 20
deg. C. (68 deg. Fahr.) the prints are more or less granulated; above this
the gelatine is softened and the reticulation greater; at 25 deg. C. (75
deg. Fahr.) it may dissolve.
The addition of alcohol to the bichromate bath--sometimes recommended to
harden the film and allow it to stand a higher temperature, and to hasten
the desiccation of the tissue--is objectionable, for the spirits tend to
reduce the bichromate, which is transformed into the green salt, and,
therefore, a partial or complete insolubilization of the gelatine is the
Aqueous ammonia added to the sensitizing solution has for its object to
permit one to keep the sensitive tissue for a somewhat longer period, but
it renders it less sensitive. If enough be added to turn the solution
yellow weak prints are obtained.
The bichromate bath should be renewed often. It does not keep owing to the
presence of gelatine and other organic matters which it dissolves and
which cause the reduction of the chromic salt even in the dark. The
tissue prepared in such a bath is not very sensitive and the image
develops with difficulty, and even cannot be developed at all.
As said above, the tissue is well sensitized when its edges commence to
curl up. It is then removed from the bath by drawing it on a glass rod
fixed at the end of the tray, and placed, prepared side down, on a
slightly waxed glass plate, rubbing it with an India rubber squeegee to
remove the superflous liquid, when it is hung up to dry.
While wet the bichromated tissue is insensitive; the sensitizing can
therefore be made by daylight, but the drying should of course be done in
the dark room, that is in a room lighted by a candle or the sunlight
filtered through a deep orange window glass.
Caution.--The soluble bichromates are very poisonous. By absorption they
produce skin diseases not without danger and very difficult to cure. Hence
when handling the wet tissue the fingers should be protected by India
rubber tips, and any yellow, stains on the hands should be rubbed with a
dilute solution of aqueous ammonia, and the hands well rinsed in water.
Drying.--When the tissue dries rapidly it adheres well on the support
upon which it is applied for developing and yields brilliant images which
are easily cleared. On the other hand, were it allowed to dry slowly the
adherence would not be so complete, the image dull and developing with
difficulty. They may even refuse to develop at all from the
insolubilization of the gelatine.
In winter and in the cool days of spring and autumn, the gelatine dries
quick enough in the air, but when the weather is warm and damp, the
gelatine, drying very slowly, may be so softened as to run off, or to
produce an entirely objectionable reticulation, or the defects above
mentioned. This may be avoided by drying it pinned up in a box, or a
closet, over quick-lime.
When dry, the tissue is generally wrinkled, brittle, breaks easily in
handling and cannot be laid flat on the cliche; but by holding it over a
basin of boiling water, the steam in a few moments rendering it
sufficiently pliable to lay it flat between glass plates, where it should
be kept under pressure until wanted for use.
The writer always dries the tissue in the following manner, which he
devised about sixteen years ago.(27) And not only the least trace of
reticulation is avoided, but the tissue, drying quite flat, lies in
perfect contact with the negative, which is quite important to obtain
proofs exactly sharp all over.
A clean glass plate is rubbed with talc, or, which the writer prefers,
flowed with a solution of(28)
Yellow wax, pure 1 part
Benzine, pure 100 parts
then strongly heated, allowed to cool and rubbed clean (apparently) with a
piece of flannel. After once more repeating this operation the plate is
coated with the following plain collodion:(29)
Ether, conc. 250 parts, in volume
Alcohol, 95 deg 250 parts, in volume
Pyroxyline 3 parts
When the film is set, the plate is immersed in filtered water until
greasiness has disappeared, when on its removal from the bichromate bath
the tissue is laid, without draining, upon it and pressed into contact
with the squeegee to remove the excess of liquid and, with it, the air
bubbles interposited. The tissue is then allowed to dry in the air on the
collodionized plate in the cold season, or, when the weather is warm and
damp, in a box in the bottom of which is placed a quantity of quicklime in
earthen dishes. When dry, the plates are placed one upon another, wrapped
in paper and kept in a dry place. When wanted for use the tissue is
stripped off and will be found quite flat with a beautiful surface to
One should avoid to keep the sensitized tissue in a moist and warm
atmosphere, for in less than ten hours it becomes insoluble even in
complete darkness. It should neither be kept in the air contaminated with
gaseous reductive matters, such as the products of the combustion of coal
gas and petroleum, sulphydric or sulphurous emanations from any source,
the fumes of turpentine oil, etc., which, by reducing the chromic salt,
cause the insolubilization of gelatine, prevent the print to adhere on the
support or the clearing of the image, which may even refuse to develop.
The sensitive tissue keeps well for three or four weeks in cool and dry
weather, and no more than eight or ten days in summer unless well
desiccated and kept in a preservative box. If kept too long the image
cannot be developed.
The Photometer.--The time of exposure is regulated by means of a
photometer. Of all the photometers which have been devised for that
purpose we do not know any one more practical than that suggested in 1876
by Mr. J. Loeffler, of Staten Island. It is made as follows: On a strip of
a thin glass plate, 6x2 inches, make four or five negatives, 11/2x11/4 inch,
exposing each one exactly for the same period and developing in the usual
manner, but without any intensification whatever. It is even advisable to
reduce the intensity if they were opaque. Fix, etc., and apply a good
hard varnish. Now cover the back of these negatives with strips of
vegetable paper or transparent celluloid, or, better, of thin sheets of
mica, in such a manner as there be one thickness on the second negative,
two on the third, three on the fourth, etc., leaving the first one
uncovered. Then place on the whole a glass plate of the same size as the
first and border like a passe-partout.
The Negatives.--For the carbon process the negatives should be intenser
than those intended for printing out on silver paper. However, good
proofs may be obtained from any negatives, so to say, by varying the
strength of the bichromate solution, as, also, by using the tissue
freshly sensitized for weak negatives, in order to obtain vigor, and for
strong negatives, the tissue two or three days after its preparation,
when it yields better half tones. Printing dodges are also resorted to.
That the most commonly employed consists to varnish the back of the
negatives with a matt varnish, or to stretch on the same a sheet of
mineral paper upon which the retouches are made by rubbing graphite,
chrome yellow, pink or blue colors to strengthen the shadows or the
whites, as the case requires. As a rule, it is advantageous to cover the
printing frame with tissue paper, whatever be the quality of the
The negatives should be bordered with deep yellow or orange-red paper to
form what is termed a "safe edge" upon which should rest the tissue in
order to prevent the margin from being insolubilized by the reductive
action of light. If this precaution were neglected it would be impossible
to strip off the paper without tearing the proof when the tissue is
applied on the support upon which the image is to be developed.
Before exposing it is advisable to ascertain what the printing qualities
of the negative are by making on silvered paper a proof of it--not
over-printed--and another of the photometer, both being exposed at the
same time and for the same period. This done, compare the proof from the
negative cliche with those of the photometer, and mark the negative with
the number of that of the photometer to which it corresponds, stating the
shade of the proof next to it; for example: No. 2; No. 3 faint, or
commences to appear, etc. This No. 2 and the observation will indicate
the intensity of the negative and serve as a guide for printing on the
tissue, since, as before explained, the silver paper is practically of the
same sensitiveness as the tissue prepared for negatives of the ordinary
Exposure.--To print, the tissue is laid over the negative, taking care
that it covers the safe edge, and a strip of silvered paper placed in the
photometer, then both the printing frame and the photometer are exposed to
light side by side.
Unless the negative be weak, when more vigor is obtained by exposing in
sunshine, the printing should be done in the shade. It is a well-known
fact that the part of the bichromated film corresponding to the half
tones in the lights are not sufficiently impressed in comparison to the
blacks while impressed in direct sun's light in this as well as in the
collotype, photogravure and other processes with the chromic salts,
because the luminous action through the bare glass, or nearly so, which in
the negative represent the shadows and half blacks, is more energetic in
proportion than through the other parts, from which it results that these
parts being most acted on are made deeply insoluble through the thickness
of the film, and then require to be cleared by a treatment with water at a
higher temperature than the parts representing the half tints in the
lights of the picture, which are but superficially and slightly insoluble,
From time to time during the exposure the print in the photometer is
examined, and when a certain picture is printed to a certain shade, or
when the one next by commences to appear or is faintly printed, etc., the
exposure of the tissue is sufficient. This, as the reader has already
inferred, is a matter of experience, the guide being the knowledge of the
intensity negative tested as above explained.
Development.--The carbon prints are developed either on a sheet of paper
upon which it should remain (single or simple transfer), or on a provisory
support to be afterwards transferred on paper or any other material
Simple Transfer.--This process is quite simple: The impressed tissue and
a sheet of paper coated with alumed (insoluble) gelatine are immersed face
to face in cold water, and when the tissue is softened both are removed,
one superposed on the other, and the whole, being placed on a glass plate
and covered with a thin oil cloth, is firmly pressed into contact with the
squeegee. The rationale of applying under water the tissue on the
gelatinized paper is to avoid the interposition of air bubbles.
To operate by simple transfer the tissue should be impressed under a
reversed negative. The reason is obvious.
Double Transfer.--By this method the carbon prints are generally
developed on porcelain or opal plates, which more easily than glass plates
permit one to follow the progress of the development and to retouch the
imperfections before transferring the picture on paper.
In order that the image does not adhere on the provisory support a little
of the following mixture is spread over the plate, which is then pretty
strongly heated, and, when it has cooled down, polished lightly with a
piece of white flannel to obtain a very thin and even layer free from
striae. If the plate has not been used before for the purpose in question,
it should be waxed a second time in the same manner:
Yellow wax 4 parts
Rosin 1 part
Turpentine or benzine 250 parts
The plates can be developed on the plates so waxed, but for "full gloss,"
that is, for enameled pictures, a film of collodion is applied on the
plates, which then, instead of being waxed, should to be simply flowed
with a solution of India rubber 1 to 100 of benzole:
Ether 250 parts
Alcohol 250 parts
Castor oil 1 part
Pyroxyline 5 to 6 parts
When the plate is coated and the collodion film set, it is immersed in
water until greasiness has disappeared and wanted for use. Then the
tissue, previously soaked in water, is applied upon it (taking care to
avoid air bubbles) and squeezed, lightly at first, with some force
afterwards, to insure a perfect contact.
Zinc plates are also employed as provisory supports instead of glass, opal
or porcelain plates. The modus operandi is exactly the same.(30) The
plates should be well planed, free from scratches, etc., and well polished
to obtain glossy pictures without one having recourse to a film of
collodion. For matt pictures, i.e., without gloss whatever, the plate
should be finely granulated, and when waxing a very light pressure should
be exerted to remove the excess of wax, else it might be quite impossible
to strip off the picture in transferring on paper.
For double transfer on biscuits, objects in alabaster, porcelain, wood,
any even or curved rigid materials, flexible supports are employed to
develop the pictures. These supports are prepared by fastening albumen
paper on a board and evenly brushing over the following hot compound,
filtered through flannel, which, when dry, is polished with a cloth:
Stearine 15 parts
Rosin 3 parts
Alcohol 100 parts
The flexible supports should be waxed, then collodionized for full gloss,
as the glass, porcelain and metallic plates.
Another method which the writer recommends is the following, due to Mr.
Swan: Immerse a sheet of paper in a solution of India rubber, 4:100 of
benzole, and let dry, which requires a few minutes. This is the flexible
support. Then after exposure, brush over the India rubber solution on the
carbon tissue, apply upon it the support when the benzole is evaporated,
and pass the whole under a rolling press to secure adhesion, then develop.
To transfer, soak the proof in tepid water, apply it on the material
prepared, as it will be explained further on, and when dry, imbue the
support from the back with benzole, to soften the India rubber, and strip.
To dispense with a rolling press, the proof may be developed on lacquered
vegetable paper prepared by immersion in a solution of 10 parts of red
shellac in 100 parts of alcohol. After developing the proof is coated
with alumed gelatine, and when dry transferred as usual. To strip off it
suffices to imbue the paper with alcohol in order to dissolve the shellac.
When the picture must be transferred on small spaces or on small objects
the most simple method--the most effective, perhaps--is the following,
devised some years ago by the writer and now employed for the ornaments of
"articles de Paris:" Prepare the provisory support as usual, but with a
thicker film of collodion; then, after developing and coloring, if
necessary, the picture is coated with gelatine, to which may be added some
zinc white or other colored substance to form a ground. This dry, strip
off, immerse the pellicle in water to soften the gelatine and transfer on
the material collodion side up.
The proofs should be developed within three or four hours after
insolation, for the luminons action continues pretty actively in the dark,
and this for a long time; thus: a proof rightly exposed in the morning
behaves as one over-exposed if developed in the evening, and after a
certain period either can not be developed or refuses to adhere on the
support. However, the proofs can be kept for three weeks, may be more,
before development, if the soluble bichromate be washed off, the tissue
sponged and dried rapidly in the warm season. This capital improvement is
due to Mr. Charles Brasseur.
It has been said that before being applied on the support the proof should
be immersed in water to soften the tissue. The time which it should be
allowed to absorb water has an importance which must not be neglected. If
it do not remain long enough to be soaked through, small invisible air
bubbles are formed on its surface, and interposing themselves between the
image and the support, form minute, brilliant, silver-like spots on the
finished picture; and, if the temperature of the water is above 20 deg. C.
(68 deg. Fahr.), the image will be more or less reticulated. The
temperature depends a good deal of the softness of the gelatine; 15 deg.
C. (59 deg. Fahr.) is safe, except, however, when the thermometer is in
the thirtieths (90th Fahr.), when the water should be cooled down a few
degrees lower, but not at the melting ice temperature, for then the proof
would not adhere well. As a rule, the tissue should remain in the cold
water until it becomes flat and shows a tendency to curl up. It is at
this very moment that it should be squeezed on the support.
The proofs should not be developed immediately after transferring. The
adherence is greater and the pictures finer and devoid of defects when the
development is made half an hour, and even an hour, after. If developed
too soon the picture will be partly, and even entirely, washed off.
Hence, a number of transfers can be prepared beforehand, placing them,
face to face one upon another, in order that the tissue does not dry,
which is quite essential.
To develop, the plate, with the tissue adhering to it, is placed in water
heated to 30 deg. C. (80 deg. Fahr.), where it is left rocking the tray
occasionally until the paper rises up by itself at the corners, when
taking hold of it by one corner, it is stripped off, leaving behind the
image buried in soluble gelatine. Should the paper offer any resistance
whatever, the gelatine should be allowed to become more soluble by
increasing the temperature of the water, or by a longer immersion. There
is, in fact, no objection to this. The plate--and that is a good
method--can be placed in an upright position in a tin box, made ad hoc, and
left therein in warm water until the paper detaches itself and the image
is partly developed and the bichromate washed off. This done, the plate
is held in an inclined position on a tray filled with water at 35 deg. C.
(95 deg. Fahr.), which is dashed with a wooden spoon on the image to clear
it from the non-acted-on gelatine. Presently one can judge whether the
exposure is right. If it is too short, the half tints in the shadows are
washed off, unless the negative be too intense, when a similar effect also
occurs in the whites. If it is too long, either the image is with
difficulty cleared or remains undeveloped. In the latter case, it is
recommended by some operators to increase the temperature of the
developing water to near the boiling point, and, for local clearing, to
pour it on. This we find objectionable, for the half tints are easily
washed off. A better process, when the picture can not be cleared by
water at 50 deg. (122 deg. Fahr.), or thereabout, is to use a solution of
common salt at 5 or 6 per cent. of slightly warm water.(31) It is even
preferable to finish the development in a tepid solution of potassium
sulpho-cyanide, 12:100. The dissolving action is long, but not only, as
said above, the half tints are best preserved, but blistering and local
washing-off are avoided.
After development the plate is rinsed under the tap, then flowed two or
three times with a solution of chrome alum at 1 per cent. of water, then
washed, and finally allowed to dry spontaneously.
It is objectionable to use a strong solution of alum, and in it to immerse
the plate for any length of time; the gelatine is considerably
hardened--which is not necessary--and more liable to crack by time in being
thoroughly desiccated. We discard the common alum which we found liable
to produce a slight reticulation.
Two defects are complained of by the beginners, viz., the want of
adherence of the deep blacks, and, especially, the isolated and fine lines
when the picture is a reproduction of an engraving, a drawing, etc., and
the liability in half tone pictures of the delicate details being washed
out. The first defects are avoided by pouring a solution of boric acid on
the transitory support before applying the tissue and developing at a low
temperature with salted water. The second from an imperfect knowledge of
the properties of gelatine acted on by light in presence of a salt of
chromic acid. One should bear in mind that the degree of solubility of
gelatine so acted on, as also its degree of impermeability--which is
important in certain processes of photogravure--is proportionate to the
degree of insolation; thus, when not impressed, bichromated gelatine
dissolves in water heated to about from 25 to 30 deg. C. (77 to 80 deg.
Fahr.), and when acted on between 30 and 100 deg. C. (86 to 112 deg.
Fahr.), according as to the degree of insolation, that is, of reduction of
the chromic salt, the latter temperature being that of insolubility of the
parts the most acted on. The very delicate half tints do not, generally,
stand a temperature higher than 35 deg. C. (95 deg. Fahr.), and,
therefore, as the degree of insolubility of the various parts cannot be
ascertained, a priori, it is advisable during the development to increase
gradually the temperature of the water from this degree, and not to exceed
45 deg. C. (113 deg. Fahr.), in order to obtain the most perfect result
from a negative of good intensity. Indeed, by placing the supports on a
rack and immersing the whole in water heated to 30 to 35 deg. C. (86 to 95
deg. Fahr.), the image will clear up by itself to perfection in a certain
period. This method is excellent for proofs in lines. Those from the
grained negatives employed in photogravure are still more perfectly
developed in a tepid solution of potassium sulphocyanate, since the
impressions wholly consist of insoluble parts (the lines) and gelatine not
Retouching.--The retouches are easily made. They should be done before
transferring when working by the double transfer process.
The transparent spots, and any parts which should be altered, are
retouched with the material of the tissue dissolved in warm water; the
whites are cleared with a scraper; and any parts which are not intense
enough, or which should be blended by the addition of half tints, are
worked on the proof--to which a tooth has been given by rubbing with
cuttle-fish powder--by means of a stump and an appropriate color, a mixture
of lamp-black and carmine, for example, in very fine powder.
The proofs can also be colored by chemical means (see further on), or with
water colors employed with a solution of chrome alum, 1 to 200 of water,
or gilt, silvered or bronzed with metallic powders applied with the
gilder's size thinned with turpentine on the proof previously coated with
a thin layer of alumed gelatine.
Second Transfer.--To transfer, a sheet of enameled or simple transfer
paper is immersed in tepid water until the gelatine is softened and feels
slippery to the fingers. The support is then placed under water at
ordinary temperatures--not under 16 deg. C. (60 deg. F.)--for two three
minutes, then rubbed with a camel brush to remove the air bubbles, which
might be formed on the surface of the image, when, without draining, the
gelatinized paper is laid upon it, covered with the thin oil cloth, and
pressed into contact with the squeegee, commencing in the center to the
sweep off the water, then repeating the operation for the other half, as
explained to apply the tissue on the provisory support. When the whole is
quite dry, which requires three or four hours, the edges are cut with a
penknife and the whole stripped off. It may happen that the proof is
covered with minute, silver-like brilliant spots, which are nothing else
than very small air bubbles interposited between the carbon proof and the
transfer paper. They are caused by the gelatine paper not having been
sufficiently softened or not laid on the proof with proper care. The
defect may also arise from the transfer paper coated with not sufficiently
To transfer on any rigid material, the proofs on flexible supports are
coated by floating on the following gelatine solution, then allowed to
dry, and, when wanted for use, immersed in tepid water to soften the
gelatine and secure adherence:
Gelatine 50 parts
Water 400 parts
Solution of chrome alum, 6 parts
Development on Absorbing Materials.--The development of carbon prints on
absorbent material--such as canvas and palettes to be painted in oil,
etc.--cannot be made in the ordinary manner on account of the impossibility
to eliminate entirely the chromic salt which tinges the material yellow.
To turn the difficulty, it suffices to wash off in several changes of cold
water all the unaltered bichromate from the prints on their removal from
the printing frame, and to proceed as usual, or the prints can be allowed
to dry and transferred at some future time.
Canvas should be prepared by brushing with a solution of aqueous ammonia
in alcohol, 5:20, to remove greasiness until the thread is apparent, and,
when dry, rubbed with sand to grain it--or to give a tooth, as it is
termed--then rubbed dry with a solution of soluble glass, 1 to 10 of
Palettes should be rendered impervious, or nearly so, by flowing upon them
a solution of alumed gelatine, which is allowed to penetrate into the
pores of the wood and the excess scraped off when solidified, when the
surface may be whitened, if necessary, as for printing on wood box, q.v.
Opals, porcelain, or ivory should be prepared with the following
Gelatine 50 parts
Water 400 parts
Chrome alum, 4:100 6 parts
Very fine carbon proofs having the appearance of pictures on opal plates
are made by transferring in the following manner, devised by the author:
Develop on the ground surface of a glass or porcelain plate, well waxed,
to obtain a matt picture, or in the ordinary manner for "full gloss," and
when the image is retouched or colored, apply a thin coating of gelatine,
let dry and coat with the following opaque collodion:
A. Ether, conc. 100 parts
Alcohol, 95 deg 90 parts
Pyroxyline 7 parts
B. White zinc in very 9 parts
Castor oil 3 parts
Alcohol 10 parts
Grind in a mortar, adding ultramarine blue and carmine, or a little of any
suitable coloring matters, and mix to A. When the collodion is dry, which
requires a few hours, strip the whole or back with strong white or colored
paper before stripping. A solution of gelatine with glycerine, white zinc,
etc., may be substituted for collodion when the pictures are employed as
ornaments on wood, etc. Carbon prints on celluloid are now made for
OPAL GELATINE SOLUTION
Gelatine 150 parts
Glycerine 15 parts
Zinc, white 40 parts
Water 600 parts
To which some coloring matters may be added according to taste. Grind the
white with the glycerine and a little water, mix to the gelatine dissolved
in the remainder of water, and filter through canvas. Apply the mixture
moderately hot, 30 deg. C. (86 deg. Fahr.)
Transparencies.--The transparencies are printed on a special tissue sold
under the name of "diapositive." It differs from the ordinary tissue in
this, that the mixture contains a greater quantity of the color matter,
India ink, which is ground exceedingly fine.
The proofs for transparencies should be printed deeper than those to be
seen by reflection, and developed on thin glass plates, free from any
defects, and coated with either one of the following substrata:
Soluble glass 5 parts
White of eggs 15 parts
Water 20 parts
The whole is beaten up to a thick froth and allowed to subside, when the
clear liquid is decanted, filtered through flannel and the glass plates
coated. The substratum should be allowed to dry for a few hours, and
rinsed under the tap before use.
The other substratum consists of
Gelatine 35 parts
Acetic acid, No. 8 250 parts
Alcohol, 95 deg 50 parts
Water 700 parts
Chrome alum, 4:100 60 parts
Dissolve the gelatine in the acid at a moderate heat, add afterwards the
alcohol and water, and lastly mix the chrome alum by small quantities at a
These substrata are employed to avoid the peeling off of the image. To
prevent the entire desiccation of the gelatine, which is the cause of the
defect above alluded to, it is advisable to add glycerine to the washing
water after the image is cleared. Some operators recommend a coating of
flexible collodion, that is, prepared with castor oil, for the purpose in
question. We do not think that necessary when the transparencies are not
exposed to sunshine. If anything should be applied we would prefer the
Carbon transparencies are invaluable for reproducing negatives in the
original size by the same (carbon) process, or for enlarging by the
collodion or gelatine process. For these purposes they should be made on
the special red tissue manufactured by the Autotype Company, of London,
Eng. They can, however, be made on the ordinary tissues.
Whatever be the tissue employed, the transparencies for the reproduction
of negatives are seldom opaque enough, and should be intensified. This is
done by treating them with a very dilute solution of sodium permanganate,
which colors them olive green.
Transparencies for lantern slides, etc., are best colored with the
couleurs a l'albumine of L. Encausse, sold by J. Reygondaud, Paris
(France). They are transparent.(33)
Toning and Intensifying.--The carbon proofs can be toned and at the same
time intensified by reagents acting with chromic oxide.
The dyes or coloring matters precipitated are not opaque, and, as a
consequence, not objectionable for transparencies. The following
processes are the most employed:
Prepare three solutions as follows:
A. Ferric sulphate 5 parts
Water 100 parts
B. Sodium carbonate 2 parts
Water 100 parts
C. Gallic acid 5 parts
Water 100 parts
Dissolve the gallic acid in warm water. Filter each solution. They keep
To tone, the plate is immersed for, say, ten minutes in A, then, after
rinsing slightly, it is placed in B for the same period, rinsed again and
flowed with C until the desired color is obtained. The tone is a splendid
purple black color. If a solution of pyrogallol be substituted to that of
gallic acid, the tone is green, and to a green bordering to black when a
solution of catechu is used, the catechu exerting at the same time a
tanning action on the gelatine. After toning, the plate should be
A similar process consists to wet the plate under the tap, then to flow
over a mixture by about equal volumes of
A. Ferrous sulphate 5 parts
Acetic acid, No. 8 5 parts
Water 100 parts, filter
B. Gallic acid 5 parts
Water 100 parts
When toned, the plate is well washed, then flowed once with the alum
solution and again washed. The tone by this process easily turns to an
inky blue not very agreeable. The action should be stopped a little
before the desired color is obtained.
It sometimes happens that the image in drying intensifies more then
necessary. It can be cleared with a solution of oxalic or citric acid.
A brown sepia is obtained by toning first with potassium permanganate, 1
per cent. of water, then, after washing, with a solution of pyrogallol.
If gallic acid be used instead of pyrogallol, the tone is black. By this
process a great intensity is obtained. A dilute solution of ammonium
sulphide can be employed as a clearing agent.
Pyrogallol and silver nitrate give a warm black tone.
Potassium bichromate followed by silver nitrate form a brick-red
precipitate of some opacity.(34)
Chloride of nickel and potassium ferrocyanate produce a fine brown.
Lime water and alizarine dissolved in alcohol dye violet.
Alizarine and the caustic alkalies produce a variety of tints, from violet
to purple, according to the concentration of the solutions.
Lead acetate and alizarine in ammoniacal solution dye purple.
Potassium ferrocyanide and uranium nitrate produce a warm sepia tone. With
chloride of nickel the tone is brown.
Ammoniacal solution of coralline diluted with water gives carmine red.
Potassium bichromate and extract of indigo produce a fine greenish tone
suitable for landscapes.
Extract of indigo colors blue(35)
Some of these reactions can be applied to the printing processes with the
bichromates, etc. The paper should be coated with galatine. See the
Other colorations can be obtained with dyes in utilizing (as shown by
Persoz) chromous chromic oxide as a mordant: alizarine, Brazil and yellow
wood (morus tinctoria), Fustet (rhus cotinus), etc. The extent of this
work does not admit of describing the numerous processes which can be
employed; they will suggest themselves to the chemist.
The alkalies employed with the dyes should be employed in diluted
solutions, as being liable to produce reticulation. By applying the
coloring matters and the mordants thickened with a little starch, the
image can be colored with different colors. Lantern slides can be thus
colored with great ease.