This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1917" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1917.
There are still a few people who talk of the good old days, the good old methods, the good old quality, etc., and go right along following the line of least resistance instead of holding on to the good things of the old days that have not been bettered.
There were many good things in the methods used a few years ago, and some of them are still good. Nothing so satisfactory has ever been found to take the place of Pyro. That's why plate manufacturers give Pyro the preference in their formulas.
There are developers that are a bit easier to handle, but they are not as good - they do not produce negatives of the most satisfactory printing quality.
You have seen a photographer develop a negative with great care, fix and rinse it, hold it up to the light and gloat over its beauty, and then condemn his printing medium for not reproducing the wonderful quality he has secured.
He will tell you all about the good old days when things were so different - when people even lived longer than they do now-a-days. But don't believe him - for they didn't - it only seemed longer. And the same is true of his negative - it only seems to have quality, that's why it doesn't print well.
If you have ever made lantern slides, you know you must get a beautiful looking positive that will transmit a great amount of light. It is beautiful because of this transparent quality. And this is the seeming quality you get in the average coal-tar developed negative, but it prints through.
On the other hand, the Pyro developed negative doesn't look so good, but it has the necessary qualities for printing. It holds up under the printing light and gives you a quality in the print that pleases your customers and makes your work sell better.
Materials and methods are constantly being improved, but the advice of the manufacturer is not always heeded. Pyro is always recommended for developing plates and films because it gives the best negative for printing, and this is just as true today as it was in the "good old albumen days."
There is nothing better than an Artura print from a Pyro-de-veloped negative. Artura has the longest scale of gradation of any paper made, and gradation is quality. Every photographer who talks of the good old days and good old results has at some time used Pyro and knows that the Pyro-developed negative is a plucky printer. And it takes a plucky negative to reproduce a full scale of gradation.
The grey negative, or even one with a slight tone, will not do it unless it also has printing density, and this is only secured with coal-tar developers at a loss of other qualities. The Pyro-developed negative, in addition to its general color, has a stain image beneath that of the silver deposit, and this gives it a peculiar printing quality which it is difficult to equal.
Pyro is produced in crystal form, which makes it very convenient to handle, the Pyro color is very easily controlled by increasing or decreasing the amount of sulphite of soda in the formula, and there is no longer any difficulty in keeping a Pyro stock solution for any reasonable length of time since Potassium Metabi-sulphite (or Sodium Bisulphite in equal quantity) has been recommended as a preservative.
If you are not getting the quality in your work that you should get, Artura prints from Pyro - developed negatives will convince you that quality superior to that of the old days may be had with the least effort and the greatest certainty.
From An Artura Iris Print A. F. Bradley.