Extremely old paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nov, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. nov

    nov Member

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    Ok, so I am so excited as I write to all about my amazing new purchase. I bought an enlarger of a guy on ebay and it just so happened that it came with some paper-
    however when I picked it up today it was a box full of paper packages!! All different sizes and mostly really small like 2.5 inch by 3.5inch upto 6 x 8inch.
    The thing is, they could be from the late 1940's or so because he says he hasnt used it since the 1950's.
    Most of the packets are sealed- so never opened.

    So my thoughts now ar eshould I open them and test?
    Will they be useless?
    Or should I keep them sealed for valued archival stuff.

    I deffinately will test them, however I am only just building my darkroom now so Im about to buy chemicals- do you think I need special chemicals for this film?

    Well I've attached some photos of the paper packs - let me know if you have had experience with any of these paper types or know what year they are from...

    Or tell me if they are worth millions or if im totally off chops.:D
     

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  2. snallan

    snallan Member

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    Hi nov,

    I have just aquired a buch of paper form the late '50s, mainly Kodak Bromide, and Bromesko. My first impression on initial testing is, how well the paper has kept. The main thing is the papers appear very slow compared to moderm Ilford fibre paper, though probably about the same speed as Adox Nuance (that is it's name in the UK, I don't know what it might be called elsewhere).

    I opened one sealed pack of the Bromide, and one sealed pack of the Bromesko for my initial test, a quick test strip on each. My maximum exposures were 21 sec on the Bromide, and 33 sec on the Bromesko (different size sheets :smile: ), and developed in Beer's #7. The first tones took over a minute to appear, so I decided to develop for 3.5 minutes.

    Both papers showed slight fog (though much less than I was expecting, it actually appears much darker in the scan, than it does in real life!), the Bromesko being worse than the Bromide, but definitely not excessive. In the attached image, the short strip is the Bromide, and the long strip the Bromesko. THe thing that will most probably affect your printing on vintage papers, is that the fog is not necessarily even over the whole of the sheet, and on the Bromesko I tested, there may be regions of differing sensitivity.

    I have not tried any of the opened packages yet, but then the sealed ones are not really sealed to atmosphere anyway!

    My suggestions to proceed would be. Open the larger pack of bromide, cut a sheet into two or three strips, and do a test strip on one of those. Plan to give the middle exposures something in the region of two - three times your normal exposure, and develop as normal. If you can see fogging, add a little restrainer to the developer, and try another test strip. For restrainers you could use benzotriazole, potassium bromide, or potassium iodide. Then when you have the fog under control, take a full sheet, and expose to give an even grey tone across it. Then develop, and see if there are any regions of bad fog, or variable sensitivity.

    It is always useful to have benzotriazole, and pot bromide, as they can be used to affect the tone of a photograph. Pot. Iodide is more specialised in it's use, and it is a powerful restrainer. You should also check out the article on Unblinking Eye on Collecting and Developing Antique Photo Paper, Harvey Yurow gives an amidol formula that looks like it could be very useful.

    Be careful though. I have only run a few tests, and already I am figuring out little projects that will use each of the packs in one go, and have started looking out for vintage papers for sale! Yes. I'm hooked! :D
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2008
  3. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I think it all depends where they've been stored...

    If they've lived in a loft for 50 years which has reached 30 degrees C for 4 months of each year then they might be a bit foggy! More sympathetic storage and you might be ok.

    I recently aquired some old Agfa paper (but not that old) and it was pretty useless. Not only foggy, but blotchy, too. Even base fog you can sometimes work around, patchy blotches? - forget it. I have got good prints out some some REALLY old Wellington paper, though (pre WW2).

    The pages on the outside offer suffer the worst - don't discard a whole packet because the first sheet is no good, try a few from the middle.

    I'd give it a go and see... you might be lucky.

    Open the packets very carefully so as not to damage the envelopes and they don't lose much value as colectors items if the contents are no good. (They aren't worth much as collectibles anyway so don't worry...)

    Just my thoughts


    Steve
     
  4. nov

    nov Member

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    thanks for that.. yeh im not sure how they were stored.. but they were in a box in a garage.. so who knows. Australian coast can be pretty damp though.
    im going to do a few tests and let you know how they turned out...
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    A box in a garage is usually nearly as bad as storage can be. Garages typically get roasty hot in the summer, even here in Canada. I can only imagine how hot they get in Australia.

    By all means play with it if you want, but the odds are slim that you'll have usable paper.

    If the packages are still sealed, however, the paper might have value as a collectible, especially if the packaging is in good condition. You might want to keep it sealed and put it on eBay.
     
  6. David William White

    David William White Member

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    By all means, strip test (or just drop a sheet into developer and see if any fog develops) -- but in the worst case, here might be a suggestion: If you like the "feel" of the paper, fix off the silver halide, wash, and resuse for cyanotype or other alt process.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In the next week or so I may have to dump quite a few boxes/packets of old papers, mainly Ilford & Kodak. Some are marked Slow but OK 92 :D

    Since then I've tested them again and all seemed fine, but still slow & usable.

    Ian
     
  8. pkrentz

    pkrentz Member

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    old papers

    I have some old papers too,
    azo n4 10x10 d
    kodabromide F3 s
    polycontrast F3 d
    azo E2 5x7 s
    azo F2 5x7 s
    velox 4x5 and 5x7 several different grades

    all to the highest bidder. Pat