Manufacture Of Photographic Sensitive Plates 647 plates5 Fig. 5.

Before being cleaned all sharp edges are roughly taken off those plates intended for machine coating by girls, who rub the edges and corners of the plates upon a stone; the plates are then cleaned by any suitable method in use among photographers. The plates, now ready for the coating room, have to be warmed to the temperature of the emulsion, say from 80 deg. F. to 100 deg. F., before they pass to the coating machine, the inventor of which, Mr. Cadett, having come to the conclusion that, if the plates are not of the proper temperature, the coating given will be uneven over various parts of the surface. The plate-warming machine is represented in Fig. 4; it was designed by Mr. A. Cowan, and made by his son, Mr. A. R. Cowan. It consists of a trough 7 ft. long by 3 in. deep, forming a flat tank, through which hot water passes by means of the circulating system shown in the engraving. To facilitate the traveling of the glass plates without friction the top of the tank is a sheet of plate glass bedded on a sand bath. An assistant at one end places the glasses one after the other on the warm glass slab, and by means of a movable slide pushes them one at a time under the cover, which cover is represented raised in the engraving to show the interior of the machine.

After having put one glass plate on the slide, another cannot be added until the man in the dark room at the other end of the slide has taken off the farthest warmed plate, because the slide has a reciprocating movement. This heating apparatus is built at right angles to the coating machine in the next room, in order to be conveniently placed in the present building; but it is intended in future to use it as a part of the coating machine itself, and to drive it at the same speed and with the same gearing, so that the cold plates will be put on by hand at one end, get warmed as they pass into the dark room, at the other end of which they will be delivered by the machine in coated condition. Underneath the heating table is a copper boiler, with its Bunsen's burner of three concentric rings to get up the temperature quickly and to give the power of keeping the water under the heating slab at a definite temperature, as indicated by a thermometer. The cold water tank of the system is represented against the wall in the cut.

Manufacture Of Photographic Sensitive Plates 647 plates6 Fig. 6.

Fig. 5 represents the hot water circulating system outside the coating rooms for keeping the gelatine emulsions in these dimly lighted regions at a given temperature, without liberating the products of combustion where the emulsion is manipulated. The temperature is regulated automatically. It will be noticed where the pipes enter the two coating rooms, and Fig. 6 shows the copper inside one of them heated by the apparatus just described. The emulsion vessel in the copper is surrounded by warm water, and the copper itself is jacketed and connected with the hot water pipes, so forming part of the circulating system.


Fig. 7 is a general view of the coating machine recently invented by Mr. Cadett, of the Greville Works, Ashtead, Surrey. The plates warmed in the light room, as already described, are delivered near the end of the coating table, where they are picked off a gridiron-like platform, represented on the right hand side of the cut, and are placed by an assistant one by one upon the parallel gauges shown at the beginning of the machine proper; they are then carried on endless cords under the coating trough described farther on. After they have been coated they are carried onward upon a series of four broad endless bands of absorbent cotton - Turkish toweling answers well - and this cotton is kept constantly soaked with cold water, which flows over sheets of accurately leveled plate glass below and in contact with the toweling; the backs of the plates being thus kept in contact with fresh cold water, the emulsion upon them is soon cooled down and is firmly set by the time the plates have reached the end of the series of four wet tables.

They are then received upon one over which dry toweling travels, which absorbs most of the moisture which may be clinging to the backs of the plates; very little wet comes off the backs, so that during a day's work it is not necessary to adopt special means to redry this last endless band. What are technically known as "whole plates," which are 8½ in. by 6½ in., are placed touching each other end to end as they enter the machine, and they travel through it at the rate of 720 per hour; smaller sizes are coated in proportion, the smaller the plates the larger is the number coated in a given time. The smaller plates pass through the machine in two parallel rows, instead of in a single row, so that quarter plates, 4¼ in. by 3¼ in., are delivered at the end of the machine at the rate of 2,800 per hour, keeping two attendants well employed in picking them up and placing them in racks as quickly as they can do the work. The double row of cords for carrying two lines of small plates through the machine is represented in the engraving. Although the plates touch each other at their edges on entering the machine, they are separated from each other by short intervals after being coated; this is effected by differential gearing.

The water flowing over the tables for cooling the plates is caught in receptacles below and carried away by pipes. Between each of the tables is a little roller to enable small plates to travel without tilting over the necessary gap between each pair of bands.

Manufacture Of Photographic Sensitive Plates 647 plates8 Fig. 8.

The feeding trough of Cadett's machine is represented in Fig. 8. The plates, cleaned as already described, are carried upon the cords under a brass roller, the weight of which causes sufficient friction to keep the plates from tilting; they next pass under a soft camel's hair brush to remove anything in the shape of dust or grit, and are then coated. They afterward pass over a series of accurately leveled wheels running in a tank of water kept exact by an automatic regulator at a temperature of from 80 deg. Fah. to 100 deg. Fah., by means of a small hot water circulating system. The emulsion trough is jacketed with hot water at a constant temperature. This trough is silver plated inside, because most metals in common use would spoil the emulsion by chemical action. The trough is 16 in. long; it somewhat tapers toward the bottom, and contains a series of silver pumps shown in the cut; the whole of this series of pumps is connected with one long adjustable crank when plates of the largest size have to be coated; when coating plates of smaller sizes some of the pumps are detached.

A chief object of the machine is to deliver a carefully measured quantity of emulsion upon each plate, and this is done by means of pumps, in order that the quantity of emulsion delivered shall not be affected by changes in the level of the emulsion in the trough; the quantity delivered is thus independent of variations due to gravity or to the speed of the machine. These pumps draw the emulsion from a sufficient depth in the trough to avoid danger from the presence of air bubbles, and the bottom of the trough is so shaped that should by chance any sedimentary matter be present, it has a tendency to travel downward, away from the bottoms of the pumps. There is a steady flow of emulsion from the pumps to the delivery pipes, then it passes down a guide plate of the exact width of the plate to be coated. Immediately in front of the guide plate is a fixed silver cylinder, kept out of contact with the plate by the thickness of a piece of fine and very hard hempen cord, which can be renewed from time to time. These cords keep the cylinder from scraping the emulsion off the plate, and they help to distribute it in an even layer.

There would be two lines upon each plate where it is touched by the cords, were not the emulsion so fluid as to flow over the cut-like lines made and close them up.

Fi. 9. Fig. 9.

The silver cylinder to a certain extent overcomes the effects of irregularities in the glass plates, for the cylinder is jointed somewhat in the cup and ball fashion, and is made in two or more parts, which parts are held together by lengths of India rubber.

Manufacture Of Photographic Sensitive Plates 647 plates10 Fig. 10.

The arrangement is shown in section in Fig. 9, in which A is the hot water jacket of the emulsion vessel; B, the crank driving the pumps; C, a pump with piston in position; D, delivery tube of the pump; E, the silver guide plate to conduct the emulsion down to the glass; F, the spreading cylinder; G, the cords regulating the distance of the cylinder from the glass plates; H, soft camel's hair brush; K, friction roller; L L L, three plates passing under the emulsion tank; M, knife edged wheels in the hot water tank, N; the "plucking roller," P, has a hot water tank of its own, and travels at slightly greater speed than the other rollers; R is the beginning of the cooling bands; T, the driving cords; and W, a level of the emulsion in the trough. Y represents one of the bucket pistons of the pumps, detached. The construction of the crank itself is such that, by adjustment of the connecting rods, more or less emulsion may be put upon the plates. Mr. Cowan, however, intends to adjust the pumps once for all, and to regulate the amount of emulsion delivered upon the plates by means of driving wheels of different diameters upon the cranks.

Fig. 10 is a section of the hollow spreading cylinder, made of sheet silver as thin as paper, so that its weight is light. For coating large plates it is divided in the center, so as to adapt itself somewhat to irregularities in the surface of each plate. In this case it is supported by a third and central thread, as represented in the cut. Otherwise the cylinder would touch the center of the plate. Its two halves are held together by a slip of India rubber. - The Engineer.