Dupont Velour Black?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by athanasius80, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

    Messages:
    641
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huntington B
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does anyone have a good description of of what Dupont Velour Black was like? I recently acquired a Dupont paper catalog from 1952, and all they really say is that it was the "first" chlorobromide enlarging paper on the market. Is there a similar paper available today? Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. John Cook

    John Cook Member

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusett
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    While in art school during the 1960's I printed on the variable contrast version called DuPont Verilour. An extremely nice neutral-tone double weight fiber-base (RC had not yet been invented) glossy double weight paper which was dried to a semi-gloss finish (emulsion up) on an Arkay dryer.

    The other materials which were required by the school were Plus-X sheet film developed in D-76 and Kodak Medalist paper developed in Dektol. I then went on to work for a commercial advertising photography studio which shot 8x10 Plus-X and contact printed it on Azo.

    All of the above materials were absolute top quality and it is pleasant to reminisce about them. But, honestly, there was no magic. Today's papers seem just as good to me. And current ISO 100 films perfectly match the results of Plus-X.

    If you long for the quality of the good old days, replace your 35mm with sheet film. There is no substitute for a large negative.
     
  3. Ornello

    Ornello Inactive

    Messages:
    295
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    It was my favorite paper. The closest current product is Ilford Galerie, which is a bit warmer in one, though. The curves are very similar, and that's the most important factor. I tried using Brovira when Velour Black was discontinued, and I could not use it at all. Ilfobrom was a very satisfactory replacement, but it too has been discontinued.
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,746
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got to use a few sheets of Velour Black before it was discontinued. It was very nice, but there were also many nice papers from Kodak and Agfa at the time. For some reason, Ilford was not stocked in the area where I lived.

    After the invention and popularity of RC paper, and with the Hunts manipulating the silver market (maybe an excuse, maybe a real reason) Dupont got out of the film and paper business and the other manufacturers began to cut back on their fiber based papers. I think the old, fondly remembered papers aquired an aura of mystery at that time as the quality of the new papers took a dip. That was a time Kodak, for instance, was experimenting with putting brightners in its paper emulsion.

    The paper situation is much different - and better - now. I don't have any of my prints on Velour Black, but I do have some from the same period on Kodabromide, Medalist, Brovira, etc., and I don't see them as any better than the good modern papers.

    I will say that, to me, all chloro-bromide papers have a weaker look than either the all chloride papers (Azo) or the all bromide papers (Kentmere Bromide). I don't know why that would be, except that a compromise is always a compromise.
    juan
     
  5. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Velour Black was my all time favorite paper, Still is. It gave me black blacks,and a total scale I have never been able to obtain with any other paper. I have tried most of what is available today, and have not found any
    paper that even comes close to it using my equipment and methods of printing. Gallerie as some one else said was/is good paper, but in my eye
    not a substitute for Velour Black.
     
  6. steve

    steve Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    I used DuPont Velour Black and Varilour papers exclusively for a number of years. They were very fine papers with an extremely white base and lots of silver that made for very long scale, neutral tone prints.

    The reason DuPont got out of the paper business was the EPA required a certain amount of paper to be RC based. I talked with a vice president at DuPont about that situation when I found out they were quitting the paper business. He said they would have to build an entire new coating facility to make the RC paper in order to be in compliance with the new EPA requirements. The company did not feel this was cost effective as their share of the B&W paper market was very small.

    They continued making X-ray film for years as it was a speciality market that they did very well in. I know they still make the Cronar film base for X-ray film.

    As for the Hunt Brothers manipulating the silver market - they did the photo manufacturing business a huge favor. Silver was selling for about $4.00 an ounce. The Hunts got it up to about $27 an ounce before their whole scheme went bust.

    In the meantime, Kodak, Ilford, etc. nearly doubled the price of film and paper. When silver got back down to the $5-$6 dollars an ounce range a year later, product prices didn't go back down. So, they effectively doubled their profit in one price raise using the silver price as the reason.

    I also agree that the closest paper to the DuPont Velour black was Ilford Galerie.
     
  7. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,746
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    DuPont made paper, film (arrow) and some very good developers. I still use my Dupont variable contast filters. I think (not real sure) that DuPont was the first with variable contast paper. I used DuPont when I could get it and I think that Zone VI brilliant was very close.
     
  8. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,097
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Velour Black

    I have been told-not particularly recently-that DuPont still makes photographic paper for the Navy. Anyone out there who can substansiate this with a yea or a neah??
    Regards, Peter
     
  9. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

    Messages:
    3,267
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    That's an interesting claim. Do you know of any other sources that discuss this?
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,746
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As my internet skills are very much lacking I dont how to go about it, but I think that all of these DOD contacts are public records and may be on the internet. I would be very very surprised.

    Paul
     
  11. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,746
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Any chance that Efkebrom is DuPont? I think Efke films are descendents from the Dupont Adox.

    Paul
     
  12. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

    Messages:
    920
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    I still have some Varilour and use it when I have a negative that could benefit from a long scale.
    If lith developed it gives lilac colours in Selenium or also weak ferri.
    I recently bought some Adox VC. While I have only made a couple of prints it does show similarities- seems to have a longer scale than Agfa MCC for instance and cooler. Gloss is less than MCC, somewhat like Varilour.

    Varilour in gold toner will give the most beautiful gray-blue black.
    Mark
     
  13. steve

    steve Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    I have no idea. This is what I was told by a VP of the photographic products division of DuPont in 1976 or 1977. He could have been making it up - but, I doubt it.

    It made sense to me at the time as one of the big areas in the photo industry was cutting down on water usage, etc. associated with print processing. The DuPont VP also obliquely referenced the fact that they would need new paper emulsion formulas for RC paper and that the photo paper (photoscience) personnel had nearly all retired from DuPont at that point and they didn't have the technical staff to support a new paper design.

    That I also believe from experience with EG&G and trying to get custom flash tubes designed. When you have a single product that's been made for years to the same specification, without the need for further R&D, the technical people slowly disappear & what you have is a manufacturing firm with no R&D capability. All of the basic science has been done, and you just crank out the product.

    DuPont paper was extremely hard to find even in the mid '60's. I used to order it from a store in San Francisco. If you walked into an average photo store and asked to order it, most of the time the answer was, "we don't even know who distributes it." I still have the green boxes in my darkroom with the white DuPont oval on them that I use for print storage.

    As a side note to another post, yes, DuPont Varilour was the original variable contrast paper.
     
  14. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,746
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I still in the Military we got Dupont, but by the mid 70s Dupont was only selling in very large lots. I was stationed in Sacramento and the only place I could buy Dupont was in San Francisco. (same store?) They bought boxes of 500 sheets and broke it down to 100 sheet boxes. My question is what happened to the equipment at the DuPont plant? It might have sold along with the patents to another county.

    Paul
     
  15. DeBone 75

    DeBone 75 Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    North Port FL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    DuPont

    I remember reading a while ago that Cache Expo Graded was the same as Velour. I don't know this for a fact. The articall said that Cache bought the patent for the paper. DuPont paper was my Dads favorite. He had his darkroom back in the 40-60s.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,981
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I like Cachet Expo Graded (which was the US brand for Maco Expo RF, which was actually made by Efke and sold under Efke's brand as well), but I would find claims that it is the same as Velour Black a bit suspect. There's nothing that's the same formula as it was 40 years ago, really, not even Azo, which is Kodak's oldest product.
     
  17. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

    Messages:
    920
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    I will try some of the Adox Vario I have in lith and selenium. If it gives lilac color then I can suspect similarity with Varilour. However Tim Rudman states that Foma is the last remaining cadmium paper which would infer that Efke's formula has changed.
    Mark