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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/314

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A Model Darkroom

��The average bathroom may be made to serve the purpose for the amateur By Wheeler P. Davey

��AVERY small town has few accom- modations for helping the amateur with his developing and printing. The tendency of the American people is to have their work done rather than to do it themselves, and this is one reason for the existence of the professional film- developer. Another is a lack of ade- quate darkroom facilities on the part of the amateur photographer.

It is the purpose of this article to give the principles which govern the ar- rangement of a good darkroom and to illustrate those principles by a detailed description of two darkrooms which have proved satisfactory enough to be called "model" darkrooms.

In planning a darkroom, space must be provided for the stock developer solution, developing shelf, sink, hypo bath, wash-tank, drying-rack, shelf for plate-holders and printing-frames, ventilating-fan, necessary lights and switches.

In addition to the foregoing it is usually desirable to provide room for a moderate supply of plates, films, printing paper and chemicals.

The room should be planned so as to make everything as compact as possible. The less one is compelled to walk about in the dark the more attention can be paid to the actual work of loading,, developing and printing, thus reducing the tendency to make annoying errors. If possible the room should be so arranged that everything can be reached by taking not more than one step. If, because of the shape of the room, this proves impossible, then everything should be arranged so that it is necessary only to walk along a straight line.

It is absolutely essential that the developer should be kept free from hypo. Hypo usually finds its way into developer in one or more of the following ways: Hypo solution when spilled on the floor, dries, and is distributed about the room like ordinary dust; the hands wet with hypo and handling the bottles of de- veloper leave traces of hypo; electric lights are turned on while the hands are

��still wet with hypo, the hypo dries and is distributed as before; the fixing tray is used by mistake as a developing tray. This is especially likely to happen when the hypo tray is kept underneath the developing-shelf. With such an arrange- ment, the plate or film cannot be taken from the fixing-bath to be washed with- out dripping hypo on the floor. This source of trouble disappears when the fixing-bath is on the same level as the developing-shelf. The plate or film is thus taken out of the developer, rinsed over the sink, fixed, and washed either in a wash-box or in the sink without ever being held over the floor. By having the sink between the developing tray and the hypo, the hands may be easily rinsed off before commencing to develop the next plate or film.

To prevent hypo being transferred to switches these may be turned on and off with foot treadles. These treadles are connected by stout woven cords to pull- switches such as can be obtained from any electrical dealer.

In professional and semi-professional work, where plates are used to the exclusion of films, it will be found of advantage to use nickel-plated metal frames for fixing, washing and drying the plates. As soon as the plate comes from the developer it is put in a frame, washed in the sink and at once put in the hypo- tank. After fixing, it is washed in the wash-tank and hung on the rack to dry. The use of the frames will be found to keep the gelatin from being marred by finger-prints. In case films of fairly large size are used, these frames should be replaced by those sold for the purpose.

Plans are given of two darkrooms. By slight modifications of one plan or the other the average bathroom may be made into a serviceable and up-to-date amateur darkroom.

The darkroom shown in Fig. i to 7 is designed for use with films and plates up to 10 by 12 in. in size. The developing- shelf should be covered with a sheet of galvanized iron so as to prevent water

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