Barry Thornton's shop closed for good.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Helen B, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I've just heard that Barry Thornton's shop will not re-open. That's a shame - but I'm sure that Barry and his developers won't be forgotten.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  2. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Thanks Helen,

    I don't think anyone is surprised really. I for one am about to try Pyrocat HD and will make up some alkaline fix from scratch too so I will be able to use the same sort of chemicals. It does however mean that all I will have left will be his books, which I hope will last a lifetime. Certainly I continue to find mileage in re-reading them. Personally, I would very much like to see his original prints. Does anyone know where ther are any on display or if some sort of exhibition is planned at all (or has taken place). His work and books is where his continued influece will be of far greater benefit than his proprietary formulae; in educating technical phillistines like me! I do not wish to sound sick, but I am in a way glad that the shop will not reopen. There would seem to be something wrong with it continuing without his continued innovative input.
     
  3. skahde

    skahde Member

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    I hope Kate Thornton will license or sell the formulas to someone. It would be a shame if his work in this field and his developers would have died with him.

    best

    Stefan
     
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Yep, I always wanted to try his developers. It would be a shame that they would be lost.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Well, Exactol may be gone, but Presysol is alive.
    Precise, exact? <strokes chin> Hmm. Nod's as good as a wink...

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I don't know Helen, sounds suspiciously a lot like pyrocat HD, even down to the dilution ratios for silver printing.
     
  7. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I've been talking to the photographer who makes Presysol after he contacted me to give it a field test. I'm in the process of doing this and at the same time working on an article for B&W Photography (UK). After it's published I'll post my verdict on APUG.
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that they were the same, only to remark tongue-in-cheek on the similarity. (I've just tried putting my tongue in my cheek while stroking my chin, nodding and winking. I need practice.)

    I look forward to reading Les' review.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    I prefer to call it "mouse in hand"
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    There may be significant similarities, but I'm sure Les will let us know if this bears out in practice. If we are honest, Exactol Lux and Dixactol Ultra (both of which I have used) seem VERY close to Pyrocat HD(not that I have used it yet). From the comments I have read, it sounds like Exactol Lux is a little finer grained and less sharp than Pyrocat and Dixactol sharper and grainier. Would that seem fair? When I first used the Xactols I was unaware of Pyrocat HD and was I unaware of divided D23 (would this be very similar to DiLuxol?) Barry suggested as much, claiming better acutance of DiLuxol over perceptol in any case. Now that I have scales and can do 6 sheets of 5x4 in Pyrocat HD for 18p, I doubt I will be looking back to the more expensive proprietary developers at nearly 10x the price. Now that my Xactols are used up I will not even be able to do a side by side with Pyrocat HD. Bummer.
     
  11. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I have just had a look at Barry's website and there is no post confirming this. Just curious to know where you heard this from.

    Adrian
     
  12. Leon

    Leon Member

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    from my experience, that is exactly right Tom.

    Looking at the monochromephotography.com site, even the logo is frighteningly similar to Barry Thornton's logos for his products ... I wouldnt be suprised if we eventually found out that Peter Hogan had obtained/ bought the formulae for Barry's old products. Shame they couldnt be published though ... i can see no other reason for the family not agreeing to publish the formulae.

    I too am well settled into my pyrocat regime, but would be interested to hear about Presysol.

    BTW - anyone in UK who used to use Barry's alkaline fixer ... retrophotographic.com have started to sell a powder kit alkaline fixer - saves having to buy tf-4 and pay loads of shipping fees. I have one to try, but havent mixed it up yet.

    It's sad that the Barry Thornton website will close too ... there is quite a bit of useful information there.
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    Adrian - this email was sent out last night to those on the mailing list

    "It is with great sadness that Kate Thornton has decided that it is not possible to carry on with the shop or this web site. I have spoken to her and found that there will be no more chemicals or books. I will keep the web site on-line until the next renewal date and then it will be closed. For this reason I will no longer be able to take questions on this site.



    I am sorry that you have all waited so long to hear this news, which I know, is very disappointing.



    However;

    As one thing stops another starts. I am in the process of completing a web site for some new photographic chemicals. The site, owned by Peter Hogan (a friend of Barry’s), will be open for sales in the near future. In my opinion, with my photography teaching background, I would say this is well worth your serious consideration.



    The web site is at www.monochromephotography.com and contact can be made on info@monochromephotography.com



    As the webmaster for this new site I would be happy to answer/pass on any questions



    Regards



    Andy Hollingsworth

    andy@awhimaging.co.uk

    www.awhimaging.co.uk"

    a sad day!
     
  14. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Leon

    I think I am on Barry's mailing list but have not downloaded any emails since early yesterday evening.
     
  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Thanks for the link Leon, it seems like a good time to do a little (actually a lot) of downloading and printing! Some of the information is available in Barry's books, but there is quite a bit that isn't.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Based on various published comments by Barry Thornton this is what I believe about his developers. Obviously I am speculating in many cases. .

    1. Dixactol -- The original Dixactol was designed to function as a two-bath developer but Thornton very soon after it was introduced provided instructions for one-bath development with the suggestion that some of the modern films did not respond well to the two-bath method. Like Pyrocat-HD Exactol was provided in Stock Solution A and Stock Solution B, which were mixed shortly prior to development. Stock A consisted of the reducer pyrocatechin and glycin. It is likely that Stock A also contained some bisulfite or metabisulfite for the preservative and also possible a restrainer such as bromide. The accelerator for Diactol was either one of the carbonates or one of the hydroxides. I suspect the hydroxides because of grain size. Borax, metaborate, etc. would not work with this formula because the threshold of developer activity of pyrocatechin is pH 9.

    Thornton described Diaxactol as razor sharp and people who have used it agree. It has grain similar to that of PMK and slightly larger than Pyrocat-HD.

    2. Exactol -- Thornton refined Dixactol by adding some phenidone to the pyrocatechin and glycin. And because of reduced grain size my suspicion is that he changed to potassium carbonate as the accelerator. The dilution for Exactol was 1:1:100 for silver printing, same as Pyrocat-HD, which leads me to suspect that there are some strong similarities in composition between the two. But Pyrocat-HD does not contain any glycin of course.

    Thornton described Exactol as giving finer grain than Diaxactol, but without quite the cutting sharpness. I will have to rely on the comments of others since I never used it.

    3. Dixactol Ultra -- Probably also contained pyprocatechin + glycin + phenidone, but the working pH appears to have been lowered because Thornton mentioned longer development times but finer grain. If that is indeed the case it seems likely to me that more of the development action would have been shifted to the glycin and phenidone.

    Just some thoughts in case anyone might want to try to recreate some of the Thornton formulas.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2004
  17. Leon

    Leon Member

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    Sandy - thanks for that. I seem to rememeber reading somewhere that you tried adding glycin to the pyrocat recipe - if I am right what was the effect (I cant find any details about it)
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    No, that was Clay Harmon who reported that in another thread. He reported possibly more contrast and a nice purple color to the user developer but apparently Clay did not take the experiments very far.

    Sandy