This section is from the book "Uncle Alberts Manual Of Practical Photography And Guide To The Reproductive Processes", by Powell Perry. Also available from Amazon: Uncle Alberts Manual Of Practical Photography And Guide To The Reproductive Processes.
For ordinary mounting the subjects are taken out of the water and placed on a linen sheet, another sheet is placed on top and the hand rubbed firmly over the top sheet; this removes surplus moisture. They are then gathered together into a neat pile and laid face downwards on a sheet of clean paper. Then the Mounting Medium is applied and the print is rubbed down on to the mount with the hand, over a piece of blotting paper. If it is desired to dry mount they must not be placed between blotting paper, but laid on a piece of glass, cloth or paper, and left uncovered until dry. For the special surfaces a Squeegee is required. This consists of an indiarubber roller mounted with a wooden handle. A piece of vulcanite, enamelled iron (ferrotype) plate, or plate glass for the highly glazed surface; and a fine ground glass or matt surface celluloid film for the matt or dead surface is also necessary. These must be carefully cleaned in warm water, polished with a soft silk handkerchief or wash-leather, and when dry dusted over with French Chalk (or Fuller's Earth-? Ed.). When this is again dusted off, the subject is placed film down whilst wet upon either surface, a piece of blotting paper placed over it and the Squeegee applied vigorously. If left in a warm dry place they will strip off in a few hours.
Although I have consistently advised the use of large and roomy baths - particularly for Combined Bath work, as detailed on page 48 - 1 cannot help remarking that this young enthusiast has gone a bit too far. Fishing about in roods and fathoms of water on the off-chance of finding a couple of half-plates is not my idea of photographic efficiency; and why the young lady should look so pleased with herself for having found what looks suspiciously like a prawn, is really beyond my ken. A couple of hours at f16 is what she needs!
Generally speaking, negatives are darker than positives. But the whole subject is fraught with difficulty; it is safer to say that most negatives are a prelude to a positive, indeed, persistence will usually turn the most obdurate negative into a positive, whilst some negatives seem automatically to turn positive during the final stages.
Perhaps the most important difference between a negative and a positive is that a negative is denser in the parts where a positive isn't. Here we see the author using a negative to print down mural on the walls of the Chapel-of-Ease at Stratford-le-Bow.
When asked to give an opinion it is well to avoid being too definite . . . why why give others the benefit of your hard earned experience. The picture on page 59 is a case in point; most critics said that the subject was obviously a negative - whereas I was able to affirm from my own experience that she was emphatically a positive. Some people spend a lifetime producing nothing but negatives - this shows a deplorable lack of versatility.
It is sometimes possible to combine negatives and positives in the same picture. The Beach Scene (this page), is a case in point; here we have three positives (back row) one negative (front, left), and an indecisive (front, right).
This example of combined positive-and-negative print was taken under rather trying circumstances and I regret to have to admit that the old school colours on my boating hat were observed by one of the subjects (rear, left) before the full exposure had been completed.
It is perhaps significant that Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, the first successful French exponent of Photography developed a positive process whilst his English contemporary, William Henry Fox Talbot, was concentrating on negatives. Never was the Gallic temperament better apostrophised.