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.
566. The use of Photography for quick record work has in the past been somewhat restricted, owing to the double process involved; i. e., the first making of the negative and then from the negative making the print. The production of sensitive papers, which permit of direct exposure, led to the invention of an apparatus by means of which reproductions may be made direct on the sensitized paper, requiring no special photographic skill to operate. In fact, with a little care anyone can operate the machine. For this reason this apparatus has been of great help to large concerns, such as insurance companies, law offices, publishers, etc., who require exact records of applications, agreements, contracts, deeds and reproductions of pages of books, copying of plans, etc., for by means of this apparatus accurate records are obtained and any possible error avoided. In addition to these advantages there is also a saving in clerical work.
Use Of Apparatus For Detecting Forgery. While this apparatus is now universally used by all large concerns for different kinds of record work, it is also used in the detecting of forgery. For example: Where a section of manuscript or document has been erased, the photographic copy will indicate it. Inks used at different ages photograph differently. Therefore, where an addition has been made this addition may be detected by the appearance of the photograph, which will show a silver deposit of different density from that of the original.
568. The record outfit was originally constructed for use in life insurance offices, in large law offices and in
Governmental work, where exact duplicate fac similes of documents are required for filing and for use in the courts, etc.
569. Since the new laws governing life insurance companies have gone into effect, it becomes necessary to supply each policy holder an exact copy of the original application. The old method of making copies by hand has become very expensive, requiring a corps of clerks for the purpose; and, besides, the old method has proven inadequate, for the reason that there is some danger of error in the copy, whereby with the new method the copy is quickly and accurately reproduced by photography, with a positive assurance of accuracy and a great saving in expense.
570. Photographs are taken directly on what is called "Insurance Bromide Paper," which is made up in rolls 100 feet in length and 11 inches in width. Each roll is mounted upon a reel, and is exposed in the camera in much the same manner as a film of an ordinary pocket camera. As it is reeled off the paper is automatically perforated every 7 inches, and when as many exposures as may be wanted have been made, the reel holder is removed from the camera and taken into the dark-room, where the photographs are separated by the perforated marks, and developed in the usual manner.
571. The light for illuminating the application is furnished by two Aristo arc lamps, one on each side of the camera, and a little in front of it, so that they throw a strong light upon the application, which is placed upon a table or stage directly beneath the lens. To this lens is attached a prism, which makes the application appear inverted on the ground-glass, and, consequently, not inverted when reproduced on the bromide paper. The image, however, is in negative form - the black letters reproducing white, etc.
572. The time of exposure given to each photograph averages about six seconds, and as the replacing of the application only occupies a similar time, five photographs may be made per minute. The developing, fixing, washing and drying takes longer, of course, but the prints are developed in batches of ten or more at a time, and forty or fifty photographs are frequently turned out in an hour.
573. The print is developed with gaslight paper developer, the time consumed being less than one minute, after which it is placed for ten minutes in the fixing, or hypo, bath, and then for a similar period in a tank, or tray, supplied with fresh running water.
574. The print, which is now permanent, is hung up and dried before an electric fan; then trimmed and fastened to the corresponding policy.
575. The original application, after being exposed, is sent to clerks, called the "backers" (policy writers and checkers) and by the time it comes back from them the photograph of it has been finished.
576. The Mutual Life Insurance Company, of New York, were perhaps the first company to install this method. They have found it decidedly superior to the old method of copying applications by hand, as there can be no errors in the copy, for the photograph is an absolute reproduction of the original application. This is an important feature.
577. Many times copies are wanted of old policies, as well as applications, forms of which have now become obsolete; these were formerly typewritten, but now they are photographed, as are also policies held for loans by the company, check accounts, letters and other documents.