The instruments used are an objective of very short focus and a small camera with a movable holder. This camera and the original negative to be reduced are fastened to the opposite ends of a long, heavy board, similar to the arrangement in use for the making of lantern slides. The camera must be movable in the direction of the objective axis, and the negative must be fastened to a vertically stationary stand. It is then uniformly lighted from the reversed side by either daylight or artificial light. Some difficulty is experienced in getting a sharp focus of the picture. The ordinary ground glass cannot be used, not being fine enough, and the best medium for this purpose is a perfectly plain piece of glass, coated with pretty strongly iodized collodion, and sensitized in the silver bath, the same way as in the wet process. The focusing is done with a small lens or even with a microscope. The plate intended for the picture has, of course, to lie in exactly the same plane as the plate used for focusing. To be certain on this point, it is best to focus upon the picture plate, inserting for this purpose a yellow glass between objective and plate. If satisfactory sharpness has been obtained, the apparatus is once for all in order for these distances. Bromide of silver gelatin plates, on account of their comparatively coarse grain, are not suitable for these small pictures, and the collodion process has to come to the rescue.

Dagron, in Paris, a prominent specialist in this branch, gives the following directions: A glass plate is well rubbed on both sides with a mixture of 1,000 parts of water, 50 parts powdered chalk, and 200 parts of alcohol, applied with a cotton tuft, after which it is gone over with a dry cotton tuft, and thereafter cleaned with a fine chamois leather. The side used for taking the picture is then finally cleaned with old collodion. The collodion must be a little thinner than ordinarily used for wet plates.


Ether............. 400 parts

* Alcohol............ 100 parts

Collodion cotton.... 3 parts

Iodide ammonia.... 4 parts

Bromide ammonia.. 1 part

The plate coated herewith is silvered in a silver bath of 7 or 8 per cent. From 12 to 15 seconds are sufficient for this.

The plate is then washed in a tray or under a faucet with distilled water, to liberate it from the free nitrate of silver and is afterwards placed upon blotting paper to drip off. The still moist plate is then coated with the albumen mixture:

Albumen....... 150 cubic centimeters


Water.......... 15 cubic centimeters

Iodide potassium 3 grams

Ammonia....... 5 grams

White sugar..... 2 grams

Iodine, a small cake.

With a wooden quirl this is beaten to snow (foam) for about 10 minutes, after which it must stand for 14 hours to settle. The albumen is poured on to the plate the same as collodion, and the surplus filtered back. After drying, the plate is laid for 15 seconds in a silver bath, consisting of 100 parts of water, 10 parts nitrate of silver, and 10 cubic centimeters of acetic acid. The plate is then carefully washed and left to dry. If carefully kept, it will retain its properties for years. To the second silver bath, when it assumes a dirty coloration, is added 25 parts kaolin to each 100 parts, by shaking the same well, and the bath is then filtered, after which a little nitrate of silver and acetic acid is added.

After each exposure the plate holder is moved a certain length, so that 10 or more reproductions are obtained upon one and the same plate. The time of exposure depends upon the density of the negative and differs according to light. It varies between a second and a minute.

The developer is composed as follows:

Water............. 100 parts

Gallic acid......... 0.3 parts

Pyro.............. 0.l part

Alcohol............ 2.5 parts

The exposed plate is immersed in this bath, and after 10 to 20 seconds, from 1 to 2 drops of a 2 per cent nitrate of silver solution are added to each 100 cubic centimeters of the solution, whereby the picture becomes visible. To follow the process exactly, the plate has to be laid— in yellow light—under a weakly enlarging microscope, and only a few drops of the developer are put upon the same. As soon as the picture has reached the desired strength, it is rinsed and fixed in a fixing soda solution, 1 to 5. Ten to 15 seconds are sufficient generally. Finally it is washed well.

After the drying of the plate, the several small pictures are cut with a diamond and fastened to the small enlarging lenses. For this purpose, the latter are laid upon a metal plate heated from underneath, a drop of Canada balsam is put to one end of the same, and, after it has become soft, the small diapositive is taken up with a pair of fine pincers, and is gradually put in contact with the fastener. Both glasses are then allowed to lie until the fastener has become hard. If bubbles appear, the whole method of fastening the picture has to be repeated.