This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Apparatus And Materials For Use In The Dark-Room. In addition to the washing and fixing boxes, which should be large enough to accommodate the standard size plates that you are using, one should have a number of trays. Where a large business is being done and a number of plates developed at one time, a large tray holding eight to ten 5x7 plates will prove a convenience. A tray 21 x 26 inches in size will accommodate thirteen 5x7 plates and will be found very convenient where a large number of plates are to be developed. This tray should be of rubber, as it is more lasting than any other material and much easier to keep clean. A couple of 8 x 10 trays will be found convenient for various manipulations during development, and one or two 5x7 trays should also be provided. These latter may be used for intensifying and reducing, and each one should be labeled and kept for its particular purpose.
915. A minim graduate, an 8-ounce graduate, and a 16 or 32-ounce graduate will be necessary, also a large pitcher in which to mix the developing solutions. A four or six-gallon earthen jar, with a cover of similar material, or a wooden cover (never tin or iron), should be kept on one corner of the sink for the saturated solution of hypo. By having this saturated solution always on hand you will never be required to wait to dissolve hypo when you are in a hurry to mix up a fixing bath, or when the bath may have become exhausted without your noticing it until you are either developing some plates or just ready to develop.
916. If you have not a ruby lamp built in the wall, or as described in Volume II, in the plans for a studio darkroom, you should have a good dark-room lamp that will not smoke. If electricity is available it will be found the best source of illumination, as it does not require any ventilation, and the light may be easily turned on and off by means of a switch.
917. One or two large negative racks should be provided, in which to place the negatives after they have been thoroughly washed. An electric or water fan should form a part of the dark-room equipment, as negatives can be dried very quickly when fanned. Then, too, in warm weather the fan will stir up the air in the dark-room and make it much more comfortable to work in. Yet if a good system of ventilation has been installed one should not suffer from the heat, unless the dark-room is near the roof, where it receives heat caused by the direct rays of the sun.
Retouching-Room. A department for retouching may be provided. Many times, however, the retoucher has a desk in the reception-room or the skylight-room, or in the finishing-room. For the larger studios, where it is necessary to have a number of retouchers, it will be found more convenient to have a special room fitted with good light especially for retouching. It is better to have a north light by which to work, as this will provide a more uniform illumination. However, a window facing any direction may answer the purpose, if it is properly screened with tissue paper, or if of ground-glass instead of plain glass.