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.
Trays For Washing And Toning Prints. Many failures are caused from negligence in caring for trays. One should have at least two washing trays, besides one for toning and another for fixing. It is a good plan to label your fixing and toning trays to avoid mistakes. Never use the toning tray for anything else than your gold toning, nor your hypo tray for any other purpose than fixing. Always use the same tray for the same purpose, and the same bottles for the same chemicals. All trays should be thoroughly cleansed with salt and water, using a small handful of salt and only sufficient water to moisten the salt. The trays must be scoured sides and bottom, and be thoroughly rinsed before using and again thoroughly rinsed after using. Trays should never be stacked one on top of another, but each placed carefully away by itself, with the hypo tray as far from the toning and washing trays as possible.
Washing Prints. This part of the operation is one which is often carelessly done, with poor tones as the result. Use large trays and plenty of water. It is most important that the preliminary washings be thorough, as streaky and muddy tones, and slow toning, are caused from insufficient washing. The preliminary washing should take at least 30 minutes, and 15 minutes more devoted to the washing will save that amount of time in toning. Insufficient preliminary washing will prevent proper action of the toning bath, resulting in uneven toning, red or muddy prints.
Placing The Prints In The Washing Tray. Place all the prints on a piece of cardboard or paper, face down, and hold in your left hand. With the thumb of the right hand slide one print at a time into the water. Immerse each print completely before adding another. Never slide one print over another, unless the under print is thoroughly wet. (See Illustration No. 3.) After the prints have been placed in the water pick them over, one at a time, and turn face up. Do this until all the prints are turned over, then proceed and reverse the prints, placing them face down, by picking them over one at a time. This should require, ordinarily, about five minutes for each change, after which empty the tray and add fresh water. Proceed as before, picking over the prints. If done conscientiously, you can rest assured that in half an hour the prints will have been properly washed and all trace of the free silver and preservative chemicals will have been eliminated.
49. Gelatin paper usually contains more silver than collodion coated paper. Consequently, when washing gelatin paper you will find that it will liberate the silver more freely. This you will recognize by the discoloration of the water, which will more freely become white or milky. It is important, therefore, that the gelatin prints should be handled and washed by hand, and have at least eight changes of water not warmer than 65 degrees to 70 degrees Fahr., each change requiring from three to five minutes.
50. Gelatin prints also have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the tray and mat - stick - together and no matter how often you change the water, unless you pick them over and over the silver and other preservative chemicals will not be eliminated.
51. Chloride of Gold is obtained by dissolving metal gold in nitro-muriatic acid. It is red-orange in color, dissolves readily in water, and for convenience is put up by the manufacturers in 15 gr. tubes or bottles. It is used for toning the prints - producing the proper color - and is therefore called the toning agent. Chemical action generally acid. It is sometimes, however, obtained in neutral form.