In the preparation of a developing solution for plate pictures, we must consider that we desire to produce a picture, which, to be admired, must have pure whites, clear shadows, be full of detail and have an easy gradation of light and shade.

That you may succeed in this object, use the following formula, and persist until you have learned its every modification:


Water..........................64 ounces f.

Protosulphate of iron..............4 "

Acetic acid ..................... 4 "

Alcoholic solution of tannin, 10 grains to the ounce................... 4 "

The four ounces of iron should be dissolved in the sixty-four ounces (fluid) of water, and the acetic acid and tannic alcohol added.

In using this solution, develop your plate over a large filter, which will receive all your surplus developing solution, and conduct it into a bottle for use again; drain the plate into this filter before washing, wash carefully and then place it into the fixing solution - the developing solution which has filtered through into the bottle is afterwards used in the proportion of one-half of old to one-half of the new or fresh solution. This greatly improves the high lights of the picture, and by using more or less of the old solution, effects can be produced that are impossible by any other means.

Great care should be taken to cause the developing solution to flow evenly and with one sweep, as it were, over the whole surface, so that the action may be as near as possible equal on all parts of the surface.

In a very few seconds after the action of the developer has commenced the picture will show up. The plate meanwhile should be kept in motion and the solution caused to flow from side to side and from one end to the other, in order that the development may progress evenly and with the same speed on all parts.

The picture will gradually grow and brighten, until all the detail that might be expected is seen in the shadows; then pour off the remaining solution into the filter and proceed to wash the plate until all traces of greasiness disappear; when the plate is sufficiently washed and is ready to be fixed or cleared. Another developing solution is prepared as follows:

Make a 64-ounce saturated solution of protosul-phate of iron, into which drop tannin solution enough to cause a precipitate, which remains undissolved after shaking, then add drop by drop pure nitric acid, until the precipitate is taken up and the solution becomes clear. To one ounce of this add water, until it tests 18 to 20 grains to the ounce by the hydrometer, then add one ounce acetic acid, which perfects the formula and constitutes the developer.

Fixing Solution

The solvent most generally used for fixing or clearing positives is cyanide of potassium.

By the term "fixing" is meant the dissolving from the collodion film all the iodide of silver not acted on by the developer; the remaining portion of the silver is in a metallic state and constitutes the image; the cyanide very readily dissolves the iodide, but acts very slowly on the metallic silver.

This fixing solution should be contained in a glass upright dish, enclosed in a wood case, with a tight or close-fitting cover, this in order that as little exposure to the air as possible may be had, as the fumes arising from the evaporation of the solution are injurious.

Two ounces of cyanide to 64 ounces of water will make a suitable fixing solution for plate pictures; if, however, its action is thought to be too slow, add more.

The plate picture having now been developed and fixed, it only remains that it should be dried, varnished, cut into shape, placed in the proper envelopes and it is ready for deliver}-.

Those desiring more extended instructions in the making of plate pictures are referred to the work on that subject, entitled, "The Ferrotype and How to Make it," published by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co., of New York.