Reilly, James M. The Albumen &
Salted Paper Book: The history and practice of photographic
printing, 1840-1895. Light Impressions Corporation.
Suggestions for Further Reading
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.
Surveys of the Technical History of Printing-Out Papers
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.
Early Writings About Salted Papers
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
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.
The Albumen Print
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
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
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.
Matte Salted Papers
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)