The work of printing is one in which amateurs as a rule do not excel. The reason for this is that it not only requires a liberal amount of patience, which in these go-a-head times is a virtue not much cultivated, but because it comprises a number of operations full of little details, each one of which must have careful attention. These operations include exposure of sensitive paper under the negative to daylight; the toning of the positive image thus obtained, its fixation, and last but not least, a thorough washing by which the fixing salt is thoroughly eliminated.
The apparatus required is simple. Printing frames, one or two dishes, and three large earthenware pans, being all the things that are necessary, beyond a plentiful supply of water. Sensitised silver paper can now be bought at a very cheap rate, cheaper indeed than one can make it, if he only counts the cost of the necessary chemicals, to say nothing of the time occupied in its preparation which would be considerable. With the paper ready to hand, bought in a sensitised condition ready for the printing frame, the worker has merely to provide himself with the chemicals for toning and fixing. For toning he will want a small quantity of acetate of soda, or borax, according to the formula which he prefers, and a fifteen-grain tube of gold. A tube of this size will tone several dozens of small pictures. To ensure success in printing - and it is by the general brightness and colour of these prints that your competence as a photographer will be guaged by friends the greatest care must be taken to keep all solutions separate. This is easily done if care be taken to complete each portion of the work before the next stage be entered upon. Thus the exposures will be made as they must be in the daytime, then when the light begins to fade the toning may be commenced. When this part of the business is complete, and not till then, the fixing solution (which is merely a solution of hypo.) may be mixed, and the prints submitted to its influence. A careless worker who places his toning bath next to his fixing bath and allows fingers or splashes to travel from one to the other, at once spoils his work. Again, with the dishes - one dish should be set apart rigidly for toning purposes and should be used for that purpose only; and it is as well, although not quite so important, that the fixing salt should have its own particular dish. With these preliminary, but by no means unnecessary words of caution, we can proceed to give a detailed account of the printing operations.