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  1. #1

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    Kodak IN-1 Mercury Intensifier

    Potassium bromide - 3/4 oz. avdp. - 22.5 g - 7/8 oz. avdp.
    Mercuric chloride - 3/4 oz. avdp. - 22.5 g - 7/8 oz. avdp.
    Water to make 32 U.S. fl. oz. - 1L - 40 Imp. fl. oz.

    [Native measurements listed first. Accuracy to within 250mg, 25ml, 1/8 oz.]

    Bleach the negative in this solution until it is a creamy white color and then wash it thoroughly. After this treatment, the negative should be blackened or "redeveloped" in a 10 percent solution of sodium sulfite, or in a developing solution such as D-72 diluted one to two, or in a 10 percent ammonia solution--one part concentrated ammonia to nine parts of water. These solutions give progressively greater density in the order given.

    Many photographic intensifiers depend on the use of mercury, but experience has proved that mercury-intensified images are not as stable as images produced by chromium intensification.

    When the silver image is placed in a solution of mercuric chloride, a reaction with the silver takes place and a mixture of mercurous chloride and silver chloride is formed. The bleached image, which appears white, can then be treated in various ways. If it is redeveloped, for instance, both the silver chloride and mercurous chloride will be reduced to the metals--silver and mercury. So, in addition to the silver with which you started, there is now added to every part of silver a proportionate part of mercury. Instead of using a developer, you may blacken the image with ammonia to form a black mercury ammonium chloride which gives a high degree of intensification.

    Skull and crossbones! Mercuric Chloride or mercury bichloride (also commonly known as corrosive sublimate) is a very poisonous salt and should, therefore, be handled with the utmost care.

    Use of some sort of fume hood or ventilation system is also recommended.
    Last edited by FilmIs4Ever; 07-06-2008 at 02:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    If there is any single chemical that should not be used in photography any longer, mercuric chloride is at the top of the list. It is a deadly poison and should only be used by professionals with proper lab training and in proper lab facilities.

    From the JT Baker MSDS for mercuric chloride:

    SAF-T-DATA(tm) Ratings (Provided here for your convenience)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Health Rating: 4 - Extreme (Poison)
    Flammability Rating: 0 - None
    Reactivity Rating: 2 - Moderate
    Contact Rating: 4 - Extreme (Life)
    Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES
    Storage Color Code: Blue (Health)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Potential Health Effects
    ----------------------------------

    Inhalation:
    Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms include sore throat, coughing, pain, tightness in chest, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath and headache. Pneumonitis may develop. Can be absorbed through inhalation with symptoms to parallel ingestion. Vapor inhalation can burn the mucous membrane of the nose and throat.
    Ingestion:
    Highly Toxic! Average lethal dose for inorganic mercury salts is about 1 gram. May cause burning of the mouth and pharynx, abdominal pain, vomiting, corrosive ulceration, bloody diarrhea. May be followed by a rapid and weak pulse, shallow breathing, paleness, exhaustion, central nervous system problems, tremors and collapse. Delayed death may occur from renal failure.

    Skin Contact:
    Causes irritaton and burns to skin. Symptoms include redness and pain. May cause skin allergy and sensitization. Can be absorbed through the skin with symptoms to parallel ingestion.
    Eye Contact:
    Causes irritation and burns to eyes. Symptoms include redness, pain, blurred vision; may cause serious and permanent eye damage.
    Chronic Exposure:
    Chronic exposure through any route can produce central nervous system damage. May cause muscle tremors, personality and behavior changes, memory loss, metallic taste, loosening of the teeth, digestive disorders, skin rashes, brain damage and kidney damage. Can cause skin allergies and accumulate in the body. Repeated skin contact can cause the skin to turn gray in color. Teratogen: can damage the developing fetus and decrease fertility in males and females.
    Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
    Persons with nervous disorders, or impaired kidney or respiratory function, or a history of allergies or a known sensitization to mercury may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.



    There are less toxic intensifier formulas available. Better yet, expose and develop film correctly.

  3. #3

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    Way to overreact.

    This is a serious intensifier for serious photographers. It is also one of the best. I listed appropriate precautions, and listed it as an advanced formula.

    Compared to using Uranium Toner, or making Daguerrotypes using mercury *vapors* this is child's play by comparison. Just don't drink the mercury. . .

  4. #4
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    "Advanced Experience" IMO is not a sufficient warning.

    All you've done here is listed an antiquated, dangerous, and largely abandoned formula with no directions or sufficient warning statements.

    You may think I'm overreacting, but I think your post is irresponsible and might lead to someone harming themselves. You may know the dangers, but there are a lot of novices around here who won't.

    The stuff is also known as "corrosive sublimate" and for good reason. It is harmful by inhalation as well as ingestion and skin contact. And if you are going to recommend a formula that requires use of such a nasty chemical, be responsible and post the proper precautions or links to further information. I'd expect that to be the case with any info posted on Uranium toner or hot mercury developed dags as well.

  5. #5
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Like so many other things in life, the decision to use mercury intensifier is a personal choice, and individuals who choose to use it are responsible for the consequences to themselves and those around them. Yes, the stuff is dangerous, and yes, it can be used safely, but one has to know and deal with the risks.

    Many years ago, I was in a workshop with a well-known photographer who uses mercury intensification extensively. He did a demonstration for us, and the results were amazing.

    On the other hand, the man was in his late 60s and had been using it for years. He had a strange cadence in his voice - long pauses that suggested some kind of struggling mental process. I'm not a physician, but if I were, I might be tempted to suspect a correlation.

    My choice is to try to expose and develop my negatives so that I don't have to resort to mercury intensification or other forms of negative torture.
    Louie

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    If you need to use an intensifier like this there's something seriously wrong with your techniques.

    These intensifiers have long gone out of use.

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    On the other hand, some of us are using processes that have long gone out of use that require high contrast negs. I can usually get them without using an intensifier, and if I do need an intensifier, selenium toner is usually as much as I need, but it's good to have a record of the other options.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Thanks for updating your post to include directions for use and safety information.

  9. #9
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    I agree with Joe. Mercury compounds should be avoided and not used. Mercury can contamination can easily occur in unexpected ways such as in the event of a fire or natural disaster. IMO this thread should be pulled.
    Don Bryant

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga View Post
    I agree with Joe. Mercury compounds should be avoided and not used. Mercury can contamination can easily occur in unexpected ways such as in the event of a fire or natural disaster. IMO this thread should be pulled.
    Who the hell are you? You can buy Mercury Thermometers with almost an ounce of mercury for *one dollar* on eBay.

    There is nothing wrong with the use of mercury if you use the proper precautions. You people are so assinine it makes me sick.

    If you're afraid of a little bloody nose, maybe you had better run home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wonderous.

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