THE EFFECTS OF FOUR DIFFERENT WET TREATMENTS ON ALBUMEN PHOTOGRAPHS
VALERIE BAAS, CHRISTOPHER FOSTER, & KAREN TRENTELMAN
. An abbreviated version of this paper was presented at the AIC Photographic Materials Group Winter Meeting, San Francisco, 1997, and published in Topics in Photographic Preservation, vol. 7 (Washington, D.C.: American Institute for Conservation Photographic Materials Group, 1997). The present article incorporates several additions and revisions.
1.1 A: MANUFACTURING PROCEDURES FOR ALBUMEN-COATED PAPER
Following are descriptions of the procedures used to produce the sample papers for the project. As stated in the text, the manufacturers used similar methods and the same paper base. The samples used in our study were made in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and these recipes are reconstructions of what was most likely done at that time.
A 60 gsm 100% rag photo base paper produced in a special run by the Simpson-Lee Paper Co. of Kalamazoo (now defunct). This lot was shared by Image Permanence Institute (IPI) and Chicago Albumen Works (CAW).
- IPI (paraphrased from Reilly, 1980, 36–40)Beat for 3 minutes, or until the entire mixture has been converted to a froth. Let settle for 24 hours, strain through muslin, and store covered in the refrigerator for one week. Allow to come to room temperature before using. Just prior to coating, gently stir in 4 ml of Kodak Photo-flodiluted 1:200 with water. If double coating is desired, hardening between coats can be achieved by warm aging for six months, steam, or a 70% isopropyl alcohol bath.
- CAW (Munson 1998)Douglas Munson stated that the methods used varied considerably from time to time. His comments on the procedures he used are paraphrased here:
Combine:6 gal. (approximately 23 liters)fresh egg whites0.5 to 3% ammonium chlorideWhip to a soft meringue. Allow to settle, strain, and just before coating, add Kodak Photo-flo, about 1:1000. The solution was not deliberately aged or fermented, but the coatings were done either immediately or shortly after processing the albumen. The sheets of paper were single, double, or triple coated and were sometimes hardened.
1.2 B: PHOTOSENSITIZING, EXPOSURE, AND PROCESSING PROCEDURES
- Spray sheets lightly with water on both sides to dampen them.
- Float sheets, albumen side down, on 12% silver nitrate (AgNO3) solution for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (under red safelight).
- Hang sheets by corner to dry (safelight).
- While still damp, expose prints to daylight without negatives under Mylar on a Fome Cor support, for approximately 20 minutes, producing completely printed out sheets.
- Initial wash: Wash prints in running water for 10 minutes to remove excess silver nitrate.
- Gold toning: Prepare toning solution: 10g borax (Na2B4O7·10H2O), and 0.5g gold chloride as tetrachloroauric (III) acid (HAuCl4), diluted with deionized water to make 1 liter. Immerse prints in toning solution for 3 minutes.
- Wash: Wash prints in running water for 5 minutes.
- Fixing: Prepare fixing solution: 150g sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate (Na2S2O3·5H2O) and 2g sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) diluted with deionized water to make 1 liter. Divide into two baths, and immerse prints in each bath for 5 minutes.
- Wash: Wash prints for 2 to 4 minutes in running water.
- Hypo clearing bath: Prepare hypo clearing agent: 10g sodium sulfite (Na2SO3) in deionized water to make 1 liter. Immerse prints in bath for 3 to 5 minutes to remove thiosulfate.
- Final wash: Wash prints for a minimum of 30 minutes in running water.
- Drying: Air-dry without restraint.
ALBUMEN MATERIALS LIST
Harkins, C.1996. Personal communication. Biology Department, Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich. 48202
Haist, G.1979. Modern photographic processing. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
McCormick-Goodhart, M., and M.Mecklenburg1992. Cold storage environments for photographic materials. AIC abstracts, American Institute for Conservation 20th Annual Meeting, Buffalo, N.Y. Washington, D.C.: AIC. 55–56.
Messier, P., and T.Vitale. 1994. Effects of aqueous treatments on albumen photographs. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation33:257–78.
Munson, D.1996. Personal communication. Chicago Albumen Works, P.O. Box 805, Housatonic, Mass. 01236.
Munson, D.1998. Personal communication. Chicago Albumen Works, P.O. Box 805, Housatonic, Mass. 01236.
Ogonowski, E.1891. La photochromie: Tirage d'epreuves photographiques en couleur. Paris: Gauthier-Villars et fils.
Reilly, J.1980. The albumen and salted paper book: The history and practice of photographic printingm, 1840–1895. Rochester, N.Y.: Light Impressions Corporation.
Swan, A.1981. Conservation of photographic print collections. Library Trends30:267–96.
Vitale, T., and P.Messier. 1994. Physical and mechanical properties of albumen photographs. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation33:279–99.
Bergquist, D. H.1986. Egg dehydration. In Egg science and technology. 3d ed.Westport, Conn.: AVI Publishing Co.285–323.
Calhoun, J., and A.Leister. 1959. Effect of gelatin layers on the dimensional stability of photographic film. Photographic Science and Engineering3:8–17.
Karpowicz, A.1989. In-plane deformations of films of size on paintings in the glass transition region. Studies in Conservation34:67–74.
Kuntz, I., and W.Kauzmann. 1974. Hydration of proteins and polypeptides. In Advances in protein chemistry, vol. 28, ed.C. D.Anfinsen et al. New York: Academic Press. 239–345.
Mecklenburg, M. F., M.McCormick-Goodhart, and C. S.Tumosa, 1994. Investigation into the deterioration of paintings and photographs using computerized modeling of stress development. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation33:153–70.
Messier, P.1991a. Protein chemistry of albumen photographs. In Topics in photographic preservation, vol. 4. Washington D.C.: American Institute for Conservation Photographic Materials Group. 124–35.
Messier, P.1991b. Work in progress: An analysis of the effects of water on the cracking of albumen photographs. In Topics in photographic preservation, vol. 4. Washington D.C.: American Institute for Conservation Photographic Materials Group. 170–78.
Powrie, W., and S.Nakai. 1986. The chemistry of eggs and egg products. In Egg science and technology. 3d ed.Westport, Conn.: AVI Publishing Co.97–139.
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Romanoff, J., and A. J.Romanoff. 1949. The avian egg. New York: Academic Press.
SOURCES OF MATERIALS
- Albumenized papers (not currently commercially available)
- Chicago Albumen Works, P.O. Box 805, Housatonic, Mass. 01236
- Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, 70 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, N.Y. 14623
- MacBeth, a division of Kollmorgen Instruments Corporation, 405 Little Britain Rd. New Windsor, N.Y. 12553-6148
- Mitutoyo Corporation, 31-19. Shiba5-chome. Minato-ku, Tokyo 108, Japan
- Silver nitrate, sodium thiosulfate, sodium carbonate
- Fisher Scientific Company, 2000 Park Lane Dr. Pittsburgh, Pa. 15275-9952
- Gold chloride (tetrachloroauric (III) acid)
- Sigma Chemical Company, P.O. Box 14508, St. Louis, Mo. 63178Sodium sulfite
- Mallinckrodt Laboratory Chemicals, 222 Red School Lane, Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865
- Borax (20 Mule Team Borax)
- Dial Corporation, Consumer Products Division, Phoenix, Ariz. 85077
- Green's Lens Tissue
- Rising Museum Mounting Board (four-ply, warm white)
- Talas, 568 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012
VALERIE BAAS received an M.F.A. in print-making from Michigan State University in 1976 and an M.S. in conservation at the Winter-thur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program in 1980. She has been the head of the paper and photographs section of the Conservation Services Laboratory at the Detroit Institute of Arts since 1980. Address: The Detroit Institute of Arts, Conservation Services Laboratory, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich. 48202.
CHRISTOPHER FOSTER received an M.S. in conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program in 1987. In 1988 he began work at the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery, as assistant paper conservator. He has been the associate conservator of art on paper and photographs at the Detroit Institute of Arts Conservation Services Laboratory since 1994. Address as for Baas.
KAREN TRENTELMAN received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Cornell University in 1989. She is presently associate research scientist in the Conservation Services Laboratory at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She joined the DIA in 1995 following an appointment as assistant professor of conservation science in the Art Conservation Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Address as for Baas.