This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
As to time of exposure, very little can be said. That varies with the different makes of plates, with the quality of the light, and the nature and density of each individual negative. Therefore every one must be a judge unto himself and make as good a guess as he can for the first trial from each negative and gauge further exposures from the results thus obtained; but this much may be said, that a negative strong in contrast
should be given a long exposure, close to the light, if artificial light is used, or in strong daylight, and developed with a weak or very much diluted developer to make a soft slide with full tone values. And a flat, weak negative will yield better results if exposed farther from the light or to a weaker light, and developed by a normal or more aggressive developer. Over exposure and under exposure show the same results in slide plates as in negative plates, and the treatment should be similar in both kinds of plates except that, perhaps, in cases of under exposure of slide plates, the better plan would be to cast them aside and make them over, as very little can be done with them. For getting bright and clear effects it is now well understood that better and more satisfactory results are obtained by backing the slide plates as well as by backing negative plates. This is accomplished by coating the back or glass side of the plate with the following mixture:
Gum arabic......... 1/2 ounce
Caramel............ 1 ounce
Burnt sienna........ 2 ounces
Alcohol............. 2 ounces
Mix and apply with small sponge or wad of absorbent cotton.
It should coat thin and smooth and dry hard enough so it will not rub off when handled. If the plates are put into a light-proof grooved box as fast as backed, they can be used about half an hour after being coated. Before developing, this backing should be removed; this is best done by first wetting the film side of the plate under the tap, which will prevent staining it, and then letting the water run on the backing, and, with a little rubbing, it will disappear in a few moments, when development may proceed. Other preparations for this purpose, ready for use, may be found at the stock houses. The mat should be carefully selected or cut of a size and shape to show up the subject to best advantage, and should cover everything not wanted in the picture. The opening should not exceed 2¾ x 2⅞ inches in any case, and must not be ragged or fuzzy, but clean cut and symmetrical. The lines of the opening of square mats should be parallel with the outside lines of the plate. Oval, or round, or other variously shaped mats, should be used sparingly, and in special cases only where the nature of the subject will warrant their use.
Statuary shows up to best advantage when the background is blocked out.
This is easily done with a small camel's-hair artist's brush and opaque or india ink, in a retouching frame, a good eye and a steady hand being the only additional requirements. This treatment may also be applied to some flower studies and other botanical subjects.
Binding may be performed with the aid of a stationer's spring clamp, such as is used for holding papers together, and can be purchased for 10 cents. Cut the binding strips the length of the sides and ends of the slide, and gum them on separately, rubbing them firmly in contact with the glass with a piece of cloth or an old handkerchief, which might be kept handy for that purpose, so that the binding may not loosen or peel off after the slides are handled but half a dozen times. Before storing the slides away for future use they should be properly labeled and named. The name label should be affixed on the right end of the face of the slide as you look at it in its proper position, and should contain the maker's name and the title of the slide. The thumb label should be affixed to the lower left-hand corner of the face of the slide, and may show the number of the slide.