Photographers, both amateur and professional, have long wanted some thoroughly efficient substitute for glass as a support for dry-plate films, and a few attempts have been made to supply the want with more or less of success. The following method has been recently proposed by Fickeissen and Becker, of Villingen, Baden. The plates or surfaces can be prepared from paper, cloth, or other suitable fabric or material, but by preference from white paper containing very little size and not much grain. This paper is first extended on a frame, or other arrangement, according to the size of the plate or surface which is desired. After it is dry, the surface is covered with a fine coat of copal varnish, for the purpose of rendering the fabric transparent; it is then dried, and after it is quite dry the surface is rendered smooth by the application of powdered pumice, if necessary, 2 or 3 times. The surface so prepared is then covered on one or both sides with a solution of gelatine or isinglass, and allowed to dry; it may be further treated with a preparation of ox-gall, from which the fatty matter has been extracted by alumina acetate, the resulting preparation being then passed through a filter, whereby a clear solution will be obtained with which the plate may be covered, so as to secure the safe reception of the emulsion.
Sheets prepared as above may be used with advantage in reproducing photographs from nature in lines or stipples for calico and other printing, as the stipples or lines can be printed first on the material before it is made transparent. Any photographic design or drawing can be put on the transparent surface in the usual way, and by using the film as a negative or positive in photographing from nature or from a drawing, half-tones will be produced in lines and stipples available for any kind of printing. As these sheets are waterproof, they can also be used as surfaces upon which to print all kinds of ornamental and useful work.