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Thread: Atomal Formula

  1. #1
    craigclu's Avatar
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    Atomal Formula

    This was posted in Usenet from some formulas translated from a German source.

    Calgon 1
    N-hydroxyethyl-o-aminophenol 6
    Pyrocatechin 10
    Hydroquinone 4
    Sodium sulfite anh 100
    sodium carbonate anh 25
    potassium bromide 1
    water to 1 L

    I was surprised to see the Pyrocatechin listed. I recall using this many, many years back after getting a Porter's grab bag or something. I remember not being very enthused about my results at the time and found no reason to ever return to tuning it in. I hadn't thought about it having any stain at the time (but I wasn't at all aware of pyro/tanning solution back then, either).
    Craig Schroeder

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    I'm under the impression that Agfa Atomal and Agfa Atomal-FF are/were completely different developers. The latter was in Agfa's list until very recently and was a speed reducing/fine grain type, perhaps like Perceptol or Microdol-X.

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    Quote Originally Posted by craigclu
    This was posted in Usenet from some formulas translated from a German source.

    Calgon 1
    N-hydroxyethyl-o-aminophenol 6
    Pyrocatechin 10
    Hydroquinone 4
    Sodium sulfite anh 100
    sodium carbonate anh 25
    potassium bromide 1
    water to 1 L

    I was surprised to see the Pyrocatechin listed. I recall using this many, many years back after getting a Porter's grab bag or something. I remember not being very enthused about my results at the time and found no reason to ever return to tuning it in. I hadn't thought about it having any stain at the time (but I wasn't at all aware of pyro/tanning solution back then, either).
    It`s probably from the thread that I started on a darkroom newsgroup forum.
    I am starting to collect photographic B&W chemical formulae for personal reference, provided that the formula can be authenticated.
    I have checked this formula out with a qualified photo chemist, who describes the formula to be complicated to the point of being bleedin` stupid,
    (His words, not mine). On the same link, there is a formula which is claimed to be the Tetenal Emofin two-bath developer formula, the first bath contains Potassium Metabisulphite as the preservative and is unlikely to work because it is too acidic, the second bath is equally daft as it contains only 10 grams of Sodium Sulphite and 2 grams of Potassium Bromide with no mention of Borax, Kodalk or Sodium Carbonate as an accelerator. For this bath to work, the developing tank probably needs to be put in the airing cupboard over night and that`s if the acid from the first bath hasn`t already neutralized it.
    Some formula`s are best taken with a proverbial pinch of Sodium Chloride,(Oops, shouldn`t that be Microdol/Perceptol).
    The developing component for the alleged Atomal formula (if authentic), is not readily available in any chemical catalogue that the chemist has seen and may be unique to Agfa. The same component was also used in the now obsolete May and Baker Promicrol developer along with Glycin.

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    May & Baker stopped manufacturing the original Promicrol because the developing agent was too costly to produce. It had also been used for some non photographic purpose and when that ceased it was uneconomic to manufacture it just for Promicrol.

    A reformulated Promicrol is manufactured using different developing agents.

    The Developing agent mentioned by Craig in the formula is Atomal, and was a proprietary Agfa product. May and Baker used 2 (beta-hydroxyethyl) aminophenol sulphate which is no longer made anywhere.

    Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Tapscott.
    The same component was also used in the now obsolete May and Baker Promicrol developer along with Glycin.
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 08-10-2005 at 08:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant
    The Developing agent mentioned by Craig in the formula is Atomal, and was a proprietary Agfa product. May and Baker used 2 (beta-hydroxyethyl) aminophenol sulphate which is no longer made anywhere.
    Ian
    The naming of organic chemicals can be confusing because a compound may have more than one name. 2 (beta-hydroxyethyl) aminophenol and N-hydroxyethyl-o-aminophenol are the same compound. Agfa has always been unclear as to whether their trademarked Atomal is the free base or the sulfate.

  6. #6
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Also 2-hydroxyethylamino-1-hydroxybenzene, which is what Agfa called it, as far as I know. I think that the 'raw ingredient' was always the sulphate.

    Best,
    Helen

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    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    No confusion to me, but I appreciate others might not realise the base compounds are the same.

    All referances I've seen for Atomal (the dev agent) have shown it to be the base, and attributed to Reddelein & Muller, of Agfa 1930. But as in the case of Para-aminophenol used as the hydrochloride form in Rodinal there's no reason why they might not have used a salt of the free base.

    Unfortunately it's all a bit academic now as the Sulphate form May & Baker used is no longer in production anywhere, and I think the former East German version of Atomal (Developer) - Calbe A49 was also re-formulated some time ago.

    Ian

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    I don't have any information about the formulas, but I used Afga Atomal when I lived in Europe in the early to mid 80s and I thought it to be very similar to Microdol X, last year I tired A49 and did not like at all, tones and grain seemed to be different and I had to double the development times, I thought I had a bad batch, mixed up a new batch same issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell
    I don't have any information about the formulas, but I used Afga Atomal when I lived in Europe in the early to mid 80s and I thought it to be very similar to Microdol X, last year I tired A49 and did not like at all, tones and grain seemed to be different and I had to double the development times, I thought I had a bad batch, mixed up a new batch same issues.
    Atomal, or Atomal FF?

  10. #10

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    Atomal, I dont recall using or even seeing the Atomal FF, I lived in Southern Italy.

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