"Piffle" by the Walrus Photography Magazine 1907
As everybody who is anybody has something to say just now about the oil-printing process, I suppose I must put my spoke in as well. Not that I know anything whatever about it, but then neither do the vast majority of those who are giving tongue on the matter. The simple fact is that this particular process has come to the front with a rush, and so all photographers find it necessary to muster up as learned a look as they can manage, and discourse glibly about dabbing and hopping, personal control, pigment, tone values, skew brushes, potassium bicromate, and so on, interspersing their remarks during these latter weeks with unpublishable observations on the climate of our favoured isle. The nature of the print makes it impossible for anyone to carry specimens about in his pockets.
There are not many oil printers who get specimens at all; and of the few prints that are obtained after strenuous efforts occupying many laborious days, only about one in a million is fit to show to anybody without running the risk of being charged with manslaughter,and this one per million is such a delicate affair that it has to be put under glass directly it is dry. If it ever does dry. There is one genial native of our own land whom I rather suspect of being capable of finishing an oil print, and that is Dr Evershed. He has quite a number of prints which he says he made himself, but they are suspiciously good. I also saw him actually commence one, but he did not finish it. He slogged away at it till within half an hour of closing time, and as that was running it dangerously close his audience disappeared. Dr Evershed knows all there is to know about oil printing, and more besides. He told us all the differant things to get in order to do the work, and then explained how we could dispense with them all. Some people say that yoy need an actinometer to time the printing. You dont. Dr Evershed does without one. He puts his print out when he starts shaving and takes it in when he has finished. One shave one print . If the negative is dense he cuts himself and leaves the print out while he plasters himself up; if it is a thin negative he only shaves half his face. This is an ingenious method, but it has its drawbacks. For instance, if you want to make a dozen prints straight away you have to be a mighty quick whisker grower. And again, it won't do for the ladies. Certainly they might vary it by printing for as long as it took them to do their hair. Mr Evershed has thought out another ingenious improvement on the ordinary method of procedure. Most workers after laboriously and manfully working to pile on the piment proceed to take it off again wherever it is not required. Dr Eversheds plan is to refrain from putting it on at all in these parts. This is really a splended idea, because no one who has seen a man oil printing can imagine what a time it takes to put on even the amount of pigment that is required. Let no one think that an oil print is made in a hurry. After exposing the paper under the negative (if you find it necessary to use anegative) you wash the print for some hours. Or some days if you like. Then stand by while it soaks for about several days. Having embrocated your arm for a week or two you are enabled to have another turn at dabbing, having previously soaked the print again for a week or so..you at last reach a stage where it is useless, if not impossible, to attempt to get any more pigment on to the print. You then take a soft rag, and rub all the colour off again, this restores the print to it's original condition. Oil printing is emphatically a process for the young, because only a person in the first blush of youth has any chance of living long enough to get a print finished . I reckon it will break more hearts that any other photographic process ever invented. If you find one of your photographic friends going about with a ghastly haggard face, with his garments smelling of turpentine and dry sepia soapsuds on his coat tails, you may safely plank down your last dollar that he is trying to make an oil print. You can't do anything for him. There is no remedy. He is Doomed.
Hope this artical does not put anyone off having a go at the Rawlings Oil Process................kirk