Photography is perhaps unique among the sciences for the variety and many degrees of the votaries it attracts, from the simple amateur who is content to develop and print two or three dozen plates a year, to the serious worker who devotes many hours each day and the contents of a well-filled purse to his favourite hobby. We have to consider, on the one hand, the barest essentials required by the more elementary class of camera users; and, on the other hand, the ideal arrangements for efficiency and comfort.
Much excellent work can be done where the family bathroom is adapted for occasional use as a dark-room. A lock-up cupboard will serve for dishes and chemicals. The bath itself forms a capital trough wherein plates and papers may lie in soak while awaiting further treatment. It is a mistake to suppose that photographic chemicals, especially considering the dilute form in which they are invariably applied, have any evil effect upon bath enamel. Any ordinary carpenter will construct a movable light-tight screen to cover up the window. In fact, the bathroom possesses so many incidental advantages, especially for cleanliness, that it is hardly wise to desert it for any other contrivance, unless one's operations have become so extended that they interfere with the more legitimate uses of the apartment.
The dark room should be lofty, well ventilated, and certainly never less than six feet square in area. Cupboards under the stairs are quite unsuitable except for the casual changing of plates. The temperature of solutions is a very important factor. Confined rooms soon get hot and stuffy; perspiration is by no means a desirable addition to developers; and many a picture has been ruined by the heat of a lamp set too close to the developing dish. There should be a good window giving plenty of daylight when necessary, so that from time to time accumulations of dust and dirt may be removed. In practice this window will be closed with a tightly fitting shutter excluding every particle of daylight. No arrangement of ruby glass and canary fabric will quite serve the purposes of modern isochromatic photography.
Fig. 1. Developing-Table And Sink.
The furniture of the dark room will consist of a table and a sink with water laid on. A convenient arrangement in which these two necessaries are combined is shown in the figure. A is the sink, say 24 x 15 in. and 3 1/2 in. deep. B is a swing trap above it, fitted with a rose or rubber tube, enabling a plate to be flooded with water without risk of injuring the film. At c is the lamp placed over the right-hand section where developing and changing of plates are always carried on. To ensure clean and accurate methods the left-hand wing of the table will always be reserved for the fixing tank or dish. Above and around are numerous shelves for such chemicals and measures as are likely to be wanted at short notice. The sink itself may be of stoneware or lead-lined. In the latter case the lead lining might be extended over the two projecting tables. The height of table should be such that the operator can sit comfortably at work and not have to stoop continually. Even if the arrangement is beyond the abilities of the local carpenter, something similar can be procured for a few pounds from any of the leading firms.