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.
1. While the making of prints on albumen paper in the regular photographic studio is, practically speaking, a thing of the past, this paper being superseded by the ready sensitized product, of which there are many kinds, yet albumen paper, owing to its cheapness and softness of tone, is today used quite extensively in the large commercial studios and by large art publishers. It is also used to a certain extent for proof work by some of the leading studios in the big cities, especially where large proofs are to be made, as the cost of an albumen print is less than one-fourth that of the ready sensitized product.
2. At the present day ready sensitized products have not superseded the ever reliable albumen product because of superior results to be obtained, for with the albumen paper the most beautiful tones and clear detail can be produced from any average negative; besides this, prints made on albumen paper are absolutely permanent. The principal advantage of the ready sensitized product lies in their convenience of being always ready for use, thus saving time and labor, which is an important consideration for the average photographer. In the early days the photographer prepared his own raw stock, albumenizing and salting the paper ready for sensitizing. This he soon abandoned when he found an opportunity to purchase the paper already albumenized, so for more than thirty years the photographer has used the ready prepared albumen paper. This paper is chiefly prepared in Dresden, Germany, and can be purchased from importers and large dealers in photographic supplies. The albumen paper is furnished in sheets 18 x 22 inches in size, put up in packages of reams and half reams, and can also be purchased in dozen-sheet packages.
3. The chief secret of the successful manipulation of albumen paper lies in the sensitizing, fuming and drying of the paper. All the other manipulations, such as printing, toning and fixing, are practically the same as the ready sensitized printing-out paper in general use today.
Keeping The Albumen Paper. Albumen paper should be kept in a cool, dry cupboard, in its original package, and is best kept flat and not rolled, for when it is rolled it is much more difficult to float it evenly on the silver bath without bubbles being formed.
Requirements For Sensitizing Albumen Paper. The requirements for sensitizing albumen paper are as follows: A nitrate of silver sensitizing bath; a sensitizing dish; a glass rod; a drying box and a fuming box.
6. Unless a very large amount of paper is consumed, the drying and fuming box may be combined, the one box answering for both purposes.
Preparing The Sensitizing Bath. In small studios, or in cases where albumen paper is only used occasionally and for special purposes, one bath of about 60 ounces of solution is all that will be required. In large commercial studios, however, a large stock solution of silver bath, 60 grains strong, is usually prepared at a time, and from this stock solution two baths of different strength are made up ready for use, each bath being used on alternate days, and while the one bath is in use the other is set in the sun, which clears and purifies the bath, making it ready for use the following day.