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  1. #1

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    When did selenium become popular

    Selenium is hardly mentioned in various 'modern' darkroom books (from 60s-80s) I learned the craft from many years ago. Reading various forums online, selenium seems a must nowadays, a step that shouldn't be omited if one is serious about their processing. When I started printing, about 20 years ago, toning was considered a non essential step which can be applied to alter tones of prints. Nothing more.

    When did selenium toning become popular?

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Selenium toning became fairly standard for archival processing more than 20 years ago but only became more common by the 1980's. This co-incided with a revival in FB papers after there'd been a big switch to RC B&W papers and growing concewrns with archival processing.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 09-02-2012 at 09:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    eddie's Avatar
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    We were using it in the mid-70's, in college. Not just for prints, but for negative intensification, too.

  4. #4

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    I was very aware of it in the 80's and it seemed to have been around for a while.

    It is covered in all the darkroom books I have kept from that period.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    1911 edition of Encyclopedia of Photography lists Selenium as a component of Phototelegraphy. Selenium is not mentioned in the Toning section.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Selenium toning became fairly standard for archival processing more than 20 years ago but only became more common by the 1980's. This co-incided with a revival in FB papers after there'd been a big switch to RC B&W papers and growing concewrns with archival processing.

    Ian
    I always thought it was only common in the States in the pre-internet days. After all, it was only Kodak who produced it commercially till very recently, and it was Ansel Adams who promoted it the most. I found very little reference to Selenium in European books (or maybe I read the wrong ones ).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    1911 edition of Encyclopedia of Photography lists Selenium as a component of Phototelegraphy. Selenium is not mentioned in the Toning section.
    Hear, hear!

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Selenium toning is mentioned in books from the 1940s. Ansel Adams' Basic Photo 3, The Print (1950), recommends Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner. These books speak of the change in tone, but not the extended print life.

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    Toning with selenium is an old method of getting various shades of sepia.
    Wall and Jordan, Photographic Facts and Formulas, 1940

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Selenium toning is mentioned in books from the 1940s. Ansel Adams' Basic Photo 3, The Print (1950), recommends Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner. These books speak of the change in tone, but not the extended print life.
    Thanks Jim. So it seems it was not until its archival properties were recognised that it became worldwide popular (as pointed out by Ian). I wonder why Agfa and (old) Ilford never promoted its use?

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