Autographic paper backing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by StoneNYC, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I shoot on a bunch of old Kodak foldies which have an "autographic" feature, the film had a paper back that when pressed on, would allow you to expose a small window on the back of the camera with light and would imprint your film with notes like f stop or location or model name etc.

    Anyone know what kind of backing paper it was and if it can be reproduced?

    Thanks.


    ~Stone

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  2. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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  3. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    The Autographic film roll consisted of a tissue-like carbon paper sandwiched between the film and the paper backing. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autographic_film
     
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  4. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    This is why when you see a print like this, the writing is white. You could undoubtedly do this on your own, respooling a carbon paper between backing and negative--- I would do a couple experiments to make sure whatever is used to write on the neg will last through the fixer.

    I have written on negs after the fact (development) with a sharpie, and achieved a similar effect.
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    That quotation and the reference to Wikipedia do not explain the way an autograph is brought onto the film.
    It seems to have worked this way:

    -) the backing paper is of a kind that has reduced opacity
    -) between film and backing paper is a carbon paper with the paper itself being transparent, with the carbon side facing the backing paper
    -) the space for applying the autograph must give way for the backing paper to lift off from the carbon paper
    -) whilst inscribing with a stylus the waxed carbon is transferred to the backing paper
    -) after inscribing there is enough play between carbon and backing paper for light to enter via the two papers onto the film
     
  6. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    My fault, I did not read beyond the references...
    Though that "compacting" of the carbon is for me hard to comprehend. At least less hard than the "play" between paper layers I hinted at.
     
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  8. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    So, it is actually "burning" the writing into the negative? Interesting.

    I have a couple of Autographic cameras and have occasionally thought of tinkering with them. This kind of renews my interest. :smile:
     
  9. joshgladstone

    joshgladstone Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but I was curious about some of this stuff today, so I looked up the patents. They describe

    "The inner face of this paper backing, that is the face adjoining invention consists in the construction, combination and ar-- the film except of a roll film is replaced by a relative non-sensitive face of the film, is provided with a transverse panel of radio-responsive ray-emitting material or substance, such, for instance, as phosphorescent calcium sulphide. After this the entire inner face of the paper backing, including the aforesaid panel, is coated with an opaque or light obstruct' compound, such as lamp black mixed with gelatin or many other suitable material. Thus the paper backing and the opaque coating is at a radio-responsive ray-emitting material or substance on the inner face of the paper backing."


    I do wonder what it would take to make autographic paper backing again. I doubt it would happen, but an interesting thought. Here are the patents if anyone is curious:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US1886053
    http://www.google.com/patents/US1358990


    And here's an encore patent for autographic packfilm!
    http://www.google.com/patents/US1368029
     
  10. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Some years ago there was a gentleman who provided roll film in several discontinued sizes. He found it almost impossible to find a suitable backing paper for his film. None of the film manufacturers would sell him any nor reveal their sources. This seems to be the main stumbling block for making your own autographic film rolls.
     
  11. joshgladstone

    joshgladstone Member

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    Well yes, you would have to create the special autographic backing. That would be the entire challenge. But the patent pretty much spells out how to make it:

    Take the paper backing from a roll of 120 and on the inside face, i.e. the side that touches the back of the film, and at properly spaced intervals to line up with the autographic door on the camera for each exposure, you place a panel of calcium sulphide. Then you coat that side of the entire paper backing with lamp black and gelatin, tape the film back onto the paper, and roll it back up. At least in theory, right?

    Anyone want to give it a shot?
     
  12. APUGuser19

    APUGuser19 Member

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    And all those years I never considered the backing paper. Just peeled it off and threw it away, usually with the reel still dangling. Making backing paper at Eastman Kodak, for instance, must have been as big of a production as making the film itself. Sometimes when I ponder photographic film, its existence, and the production involved; the making of top-quality film is an astounding thing.
    And making good backing paper for it might be an untold entire industry in itself.
     
  13. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    We make our backing paper available during the ULF run.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  14. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    there was one recent thread on APUG where it was revealed that one manufacturer estimates that the Backing Paper for a roll of 120 film is a greater proportion of the total cost than the photographic film itself. (Then their is the spool, the foil paper, the box and so on)
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    sorry to sound like a buzz-kill

    seems like a lot less hassle to take notes "in the field"
    and take a piece of cellophane or velum or scotch tape or ...
    carefully and legibly write ( or type ) on it , and print it ontop of the print ..
    instead of burning it on the film at the time of exposure.
    ( i removed the number wheel from my grafmatic back the moment after
    i bought it for the same reason ... the last thing i want is something printed on my negative
    that i will have to eventually crop out ( i expose full frame .. ) whats the point of exposing film
    and composing if you aren't going to use the whole view finder or ground glass &c
    film is expensive, time spent getting to and making the exposure will never occur again
    the instantaneous seconds you expose / steal to reflected light onto the film will never happen again ..
    why tarnish the film area with scrawled notes that look like a digital credit card signature pad? i have
    junk store photo albums from people autographic cameras, i the photographs are nice, the white scrawl ... not so much ...

    while it would be a novel idea to recreate the autographic paper, seems messy but at least the lamp black and gelatin seems doable
    without dying from toxic exposure to chemicals ... it might end up an awful lot of effort and not worth the hangover afterwards.

    but as they say YMMV

    have fun