Ray,the Ilford nuclear emulsion division was still based in London when I had dealings with Ilford, that's where they made and distributed them too. They had only recently moved the Ilford headquarters to Mobberley.
In our original conversation (over lunch) we were discussing Rockland Colloids and I mentioned Barfen's Liquid emulsion, (which I never tried), I had to explain who Barfen were. The company was based around some Photographic surplus stores who had specialised in selling ex Military/Government surplus film, paper, and even cameras (A.W. Young, Marston & Heard, Harringay Photographic Supplies etc). The Ilford staff were all senior Sales Managers/Research chemists, we all wondered where Barfen were getting their emulsion and they wondered whether Ilford could supply them. A few weeks later during a business call I was told "by the way that Barfen Emulsion is actually one of our own nuclear emulsions" and that the Nuclear division was small self contained unit based in London.
I was told (at the time) that Ilford were concerned that uncoated emulsions could fall into the hands of a competitor, this was the reason I ceased using Ilfospeed Gd 3 emulsion, and presumably why Barfen changed too. Chemical analysis of an Uncoated emulsion will tell you far more than analysing a coated emulsion.
Originally Posted by Ray Rogers
2 or 3 years before I'd had a visit from an elderly Kodak sales rep, he'd been sent specifically to see what I (or rather my company) was doing. In fact he was a retired Emulsion chemist who'd worked at Harrow.
Back to Barfen, the Surplus shops specialised in selling off film & paper mostly Ilford, while still at school I often bought 100ft lengths of FP3 from them and even HP3, (FP4 & HP4 were then the current production) early resin coated papers obviously ex RAF, quite unlike the later consumer Ilfospeed. I think there was a common partner who had a stake in all the shops, he would probably have been the brains behind Barfen, which was just a Brand name first used for E4 then E6 slide films (of Fuji origin) and associated processing kits - made for them (Barfen).
I regularly bought film & paper from A.W. Young or Marson & Heard as a student and continued to use the Barfen E4 then E6 films until the mid 80's. I visited the stores on odd trips to London.
You ask too many questions Ray
I would like to hear what PE knows about analysis of competitors materials.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I certainly see how it would be easier, and cheaper.
The changes upon drying affect- I belive- mainly pH, pAg (and naturally water content)... things strongly affected by final additions...so if you compared both types of analyses; one might learn more than either alone.
Quite a bit could be learnt either way, if the potential ROI were great enough....but generally, I don't think analysis is of that much use unless you have a specfic problem or goal in mind.
I wonder what Kodak has learned that way?
Yes, I know. I wish I knew more!
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
The more I knew the less I would ask...
The less I'd ask, the less I'd learn.
The less I'd learn, the less I'd know.
The less I'd know, the more I'd need to ask!
The more I ask, the more I learn.
The more I learn, the more I know
The more I know the more I forget.
The more I forget the less I know.
The less I know the less I forget
and everyone will agree
The less I forget the more I will know!
We had, at Kodak, a competitor testing division that analyzed all competitive products for content and capability. This unit was also responsible for investigating any and all patent infringement by a competitor or even Kodak. There is a lot to learn from testing film or paper extensively, but once coated it is difficult to analyze for some components and easier to detect others.
The changes are due to evaporation and concentration mainly, with some chemical interactions also involved.
I just received this email from Harman's technical support regarding the future of POP.
It is a good answer to lots of what has been discussed on here without a lot of the conspiracy theory.
We have actually not abandoned our plans to re-introduce this product if we possibly can. However, we have some significant hurdles to overcome before we can be sure that we will actually be able to manufacture this product on our plant. The previous formulation was particularly suited to Kentmere's relatively small and simple manufacturing plant, which precludes us simply transferring it to our larger and more modern plant. More importantly though there are also some signiificant Health & safety manufacturing concerns with the old formulation which we will have to overcome in order to turn this into a manufacturable product again. So, while it is certainly our intention to do this if we can, at this stage, I am unfortunately neither able to guarantee that it will come back, or when that might be. I know that this is not good news for anyone and it is frustrating for us too, but I thought you would appreciate a realistic assessment of where we are with our current plans for the product.
Doug Munson at Chicago Albumen Works is aware of this based on conversations I have had with him over the past few months.
I hope that this at least reassures you that we have not just abandoned the product and our customers arbitarily. Simply put, while a market remains for this product which customer inquiries indicate , we will re-introduce it if we can, given the difficulties I have outlined above.
Thank you for registering your concern.
Rod for HARMAN techsupport "
That's a fair reply, and quite obviously accurate.
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That is a great reply, in terms of honesty and directness. Totally encouraging? No, but I think it does show that there would be some value in politely letting Harman know that you are interested in the paper. I'll bet that Doug Munson has made his pitch.
This is quite a bad news. I'm unfortunately not so surprised.