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Calotype

Calotype was an early photographic process introduced in 1841 by William Fox Talbot, using paper sheets covered with silver chloride. The image was fixed in strong salt solution - potassium iodide of hypo.

It may be briefly described as the application of silver iodide to a paper support. Carefully selected paper was brushed over with a solution of silver nitrate (100 grains to the ounce of distilled water), and dried by the fire. It was then dipped into a solution of potassium iodide (500 grains being dissolved in a pint of water), where it was allowed to stay two or three minutes until silver iodide waa formed. In this state the iodide is scarcely sensitive to light, but is sensitized by brushing "gallo-nitrate of silver" over the surface to which the silver nitrate had been first applied. This "gallonitrate" is merely a mixture, consisting of 100 grains of silver nitrate dissolved in 2 oz. of water, to which is added one-sixth of its volume of acetic acid, and immediately before applying to the paper an equal bulk of a saturated solution of gallic acid in water. The prepared surface is then ready for exposure in the camera, and, after a short insolation, develops itself in the dark, or the development may be hastened by a fresh application of the "gallo-nitrate of silver." The picture is then fixed by washing it in clean water and drying slightly in blotting paper, after which it is treated with a solution of potassium bromide, and again washed and dried. Here there is no mention made of hyposulphite of soda as a fixing agent, that having been first used by Sir J. Herschel in February 1840.

This process was the first to use a negative image that can be reused to produce several positive prints. When the Collodion process was introduced in 1851, the calotype became obsolete



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