This section is from the book "Modern Photography In Theory And Practice", by By Henry G. Abbott. Also available from Amazon: Modern photography in theory and practice: A hand book for the amateur.
This volume has been printed for the convenience of amateur photographers. There are two kinds of amateurs, one that presses the button and allows the professional to do the rest and the other, the earnest student, who has ambition to become, in every sense of the word, a photographer. This volume was not prepared for the former, for he rarely, if ever, makes any progress, and in fact does not seek to do so. Many difficulties and obstacles are encountered by every amateur and this volume is intended to reduce these difficulties as much as possible, by giving advice and instruction, which, if followed carefully, will save the amateur's money and many perplexities and annoyances.
Cleanliness is a prime requisite in all the various branches of photography, from the loading of the plate holder to the finishing of the print, if we would meet with success. Where formulae are given, the exact proportions must be adhered to. There are no short-cuts in photography and no guesswork when using chemicals. Every chemical must be weighed or measured with as much care as though you were putting up a prescription for a patient. Carelessness in regard to either of the above points will only lead to failure and make you disgusted with your camera, your plates and yourself. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, failures are the result of carelessness and are not the fault of the camera maker, or the plate or paper manufacturer. Mix common sense reasoning with your chemicals. Read carefully, not superficially, all the works and trade journals on photography that are within your reach. The trade journal or book is poor, indeed, which cannot give you some new idea, or at least throw light on some subject which heretofore has been unintelligible to you. This work is based on the experiences of the writer who is an amateur, not a professional. He has not graduated and probably never will, and is constantly running up against troublesome problems. He well remembers all the perplexities he had to contend with and hopes and believes that this volume will save the amateur much worry and needless expense.
H. G. A.