Americans have the reputation of being a very wasteful people. We are said to throw away enough food, waste enough raw material, and lose enough of the by-products of manufacture to keep a small nation alive. That last statement may be a little exaggerated to-day, for the nation is being taught its lesson of conservation and the leaks are gradually being stopped.

However, there is one economy in our own profession that is not being practiced as much as in former years. Photographers are allowing the pennies, dimes and dollars to run down their drain pipes in such quantities that in a year it runs into tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. This extravagant loss is nothing more nor less than silver waste.

Possibly you think this is too small an item, in your business, to take account of - but is it ? The writer knows of one large photographic concern that saved over $400.00 in silver waste last year. It was decidedly worth the trouble, and will be to you if you are doing a reasonable amount of work.We nitrate nearly two tons of silver a week in our own silver nitrating plant at Kodak Park. This silver goes into the films, plates and papers of our manufacture. It is reasonable to say that about half this amount of silver remains in the films, plates and papers after they are fixed, the other half remaining in the fixing baths of the photographers who use the goods.

If all this wasted silver could be recovered each year, it would have a value of something near a half million dollars. And while we use more silver than any one concern in the United States, we are not the only manufacturers of sensitive photographic goods.

Our own use of silver, however, will give a fair idea of what an enormous waste there must be - of how much of this precious metal finds its way into the photographer's sink, for the amount recovered represents a very small percentage of what could be saved.

Many photographers save their old hypo baths and precipitate the silver, and such savings will average from $50.00 to $150.00 a year. If you are doing only a very small amount of work, you may not find it worth while, but if you have a good business, save your silver and see what an item it is at the end of the year.

The Method

Pour your old hypo solution into a barrel and when this is filled, add about one quart of a fresh saturated solution of Potassium Sulphide. This will precipitate the silver, which will form in a black sediment on the bottom of the barrel. The Potassium Sulphide should be stirred in with the hypo solution thoroughly and allowed to stand for about 24 hours.

The Method StudioLightMagazine1915 116


By Emma B. Freeman Eureka, Cal.

In order to ascertain whether all the silver has been precipitated, it would be well to dip out a graduate full of the solution and add a small quantity of the Sulphide solution to see if more sediment forms on the bottom of the graduate. If it remains clear you will know that sufficient Sulphide was added in the first instance.

There is one important thing to be remembered in connection with this work - the barrels of solution should be kept as far away from the work rooms and photographic materals as possible. The fumes of the Potassium Sulphide not only cause sensitive goods to deteriorate but the odor given off is not at all pleasant. The barrels should also be covered after sulphide solution has been added.

After it is found that all of the silver has been precipitated, decant the clear solution from the barrel, scrape out the residue remaining in the bottom, place it in a coarse mesh sack and allow it to hang over the barrel until it has thoroughly drained, then box and ship it to the nearest refining company.