Developing Dishes - Made of hard rubber

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by pentaxuser, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have seen a set of dishes on e-bay which are made of hard rubber by the American Hard Rubber Company.

    Anyone care to pass an opinion on these? Should be durable and shatter proof, I would have thought. My concern would be whether they are easily affected by chemicals and the difficulties of cleaning.

    Until I had seen them I hadn't thought of rubber as a likely material for developers, fixers, bleach etc

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I have a couple of these, and based on that observation, I would have to say that they are indestructible and last forever! I got them used (well used), and at this point they must be 40-50 years old!

    Actually, from the perspective of utility, I can't really tell the difference between the hard rubber and modern plastic - except perhaps that the hard rubber trays simply feel more robust. They rinse out just as well as plastic, and aren't affected by any of the chemicals that I put into them.
     
  3. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Hard rubber, metal, and glass, were the standard years ago.
    I've at least a couple of small hard rubber trays. Now and
    then I consider making use of them. Substantial. Dan
     
  4. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Well, I believed what I had many years ago were hard rubber. Assuming that's true, I'm sorry to report they were not unbreakable! These were 1960s vintage, maybe they get more brittle with age. At any rate, the material seemed more like Bakelite than any property I associate with rubber. Chemical resistance-wise, they were fine.

    DaveT
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have a few of these things. Three or four of a size suitable for 11 x 14 and one truly huge one suitable for a 20 x 24 print. Sadly they are not unbreakable. Years ago hair combs were made of the same hard rubber material. If you bent them too far. they would snap. It was not uncommon to see these things missing teeth. One of the smaller trays developed a crack that I was able to mend with some epoxy. They are impervious to all commonly used darkroom chemistry in my experience, and rinse out just as easily as any other materials designed for such use. There might be a few things that one should not use with rubber trays, but I doubt it. I'm no chemist, so I can't say for sure. One thing they are is HEAVY. By my rough estimate, they can weigh in at 2 to 3 times the weight of modern plastic trays of an equivalent size.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks for answers. It would seem that from what at least some of yoy have said that it isn't in fact hard rubber at all but more like Bakelite which as the forerunner of modern plastic was in fact extremely brittle. Seems strange that the American Hard Rubber Company didn't make them of hard rubber which is very stiff and yes may be a little heavier than plastic but would be virtually unbreakable.

    Certainly the pictue on e-bay makes them look like dark grey rubber and not like the bakelite material I remember from the 50s.

    Anyway I took a chance made a bid and won so I'll soon know. Glad that in terms of cleaning and wearing qualities at least they sound quite tough.

    Strange thing is that if they are very heavy the postage and packing is very reasonable.

    I'll let you all know about them when they arrive

    pentaxuser
     
  7. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    It's hard rubber
    at first you'd think it was a heavy plastic but it does have a bit of I dunno ..tooth?

    like those non-pneumatic tires
    Hardly "rubbery"
     
  8. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I like to use the black hard rubber trays for wetplate collodion. The dark tone lets me see the ambrotype reversal quite easily. So far, I've not noticed any problems with the chemistry affecting the trays and vice versa.

    Joe
     
  9. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    There were both hard rubber and bakelite trays until about 1950. Of course, there were enamel ones also. PLastic we won't mention. Actually I should say are, because I still have some of each and use them regularly. The true hard rubber ones are almost as pretty as when they were new. I can't say that about any of the others.
    I like Joe's idea of using hard rubber for wet plate which I am just beginning. Seems like it would be a great asset in determining development time.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The latest comments have cheered me up a bit. I just hope that the Amercan Hard Rubber company used hard rubber. I can only presume that the trays have either a leaflet with them saying American Hard Rubber Company or are stamped as such.

    Bakelite is no where near to being hard rubber. A bit like the wife's ring being from the Kimberley Diamond company and being made of glass!

    In life you've got to laugh or you'd shoot yourself. It's so easy to get suspicious. The wife's calling me, saying something about she's just checked and the refractive index is way too low. What is she taliking about?

    pentaxuser