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.
Retoucher's Duties. With this accomplished the negatives are sent to the retoucher, who immediately records in a note book (kept for the purpose) the number of all the negatives received. On finishing the retouching of each negative he checks the corresponding number in his note book and these retouched negatives are then sent to the printing room.
Printer's Duties. The printer now takes charge of them, recording the negative numbers in his note book just as the retoucher did, also noting date he received the negatives and the date the order is promised, and then it is his duty to see that the order is finished in due time.
Time For Finishing. Each department has a certain length of time in which to finish the work of that department. Where orders are promised in fourteen days from the date the proof is returned, the retoucher is usually allowed six of the fourteen days to complete the retouching and get the negative in the hands of the printer. In other words, on the seventh day after the proofs are returned and in the hands of the retoucher, the negatives must be in the printing room, thus giving the printer the remainder of the time in which to finish the work.
Retoucher's And Printer's Daily Report. At the end of each day the retoucher turns into the office the numbers of all the negatives he retouched that day. The printer turns in a similar list. One advantage of this system is that the proprietor knows exactly how much work the retoucher and printer have done. Another advantage of the system lies in the fact that you can easily ascertain just how near an order is completed. Should a customer come into the studio a few days before the photographs are promised to be finished and make inquiry regarding his pictures - or he may possibly want to have some of them finished in a hurry - by simply referring to your register you will find the date the order was recorded and the day promised. If, for example, the customer comes into the studio seven days after the order was recorded you will know that the negative must be in the hands of the printer. By referring to your slips of numbers furnished by the printer, you will be able to ascertain if he has any finished prints from these negatives. If the numbers do not appear on his slip you turn to the retoucher's slips and you will very likely find the numbers there, and by observing the date on the slip you will note when the negatives were sent to the printing room and you can then judge very readily the earliest possible date you can deliver them. All this is done without leaving the office.
751. Should the numbers of the negatives in question not be found in either the printer's list or the retoucher's list, you at once have a line on your retoucher and you will naturally make inquiry of him why such negatives were not yet in the hands of the printer as the required time had expired. Ordinarily, assistants that are trained and become accustomed to a certain system, will find it much easier working, for they know exactly how much work must be done and it is their duty to do it within the required time. On the other hand, they also know that you are watching the work and can instantly locate the delay and the person responsible for such a delay, all of which has a tendency to keep each employe working faithfully, so that all work will be completed on schedule time.