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6x9 B&W development of photographic films in 1930s


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<p>At that time, both roll films and sheet films were in common use for that format. Most available films at that time were orthochromatic, so they could be developed under a red safelight. In consequence, the requirements were simple. Sheet film would be developed in small trays and roll films could be developed in the same way, by "see-sawing" the film through the developer and fixer. There were some reel carriers for roll film but they were expensive luxuries, which only came into their own as panchromatic film became available. "Pan" film, being sensitive to all colours, had to be developed in total darkness. Most amateur photographers would be content with contact prints, and would use the same red safelight and trays for making the prints as they used for developing the films, often using the same developer and fixer as well.</p>

<p>To go more deeply into this, I suggest that you search for each of the terms above to get a more detailed description.</p>

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<p>In the 1930s most film was developed in trays using the seesaw method. The films were mainly orthochromatic so the darkroom was illuminated with red light. Three trays of chemicals were uses. Roll film was first unrolled and then carefully immersed in a water bath. This procedure took the stiffness out of the film making easier to handle. The roll was held by the ends using both hands. The film was forced into a “U” shape and just the bottom of the “U” was submerged in a tray contain developer. The film was seesawed in the tray, thus every square inch of the film was submerged but not all at the same time. The darkroom operator was able to see the images develop up. Following time and temperature guidelines and visual inspection, the film was moved to a second tray of stop bath (mild vinegar) of acetic acid. Next the film was moved to a third tray of fixer. After about 8 -10 minutes the white lights were turned on. The now fixed film was washed in running water for 30 minutes and then dried by hanging it up with a weight attached to the bottom. Sheet film were handled much the same way.<br>


Developing tanks made of hard rubber or plastic were available. These accommodated roll film and sheet film. The most common way was special stainless hangers were available for8x10, 4x5, 2 ½ x 3 ¼ sheet film. Films, one at a time were placed in handers and manually submerged in the developing fluids. The tanks holding the chemicals were made of hard rubber. <br>


In professional photofinishing labs, the film films were unrolled and clamped to a wood stick with 6 or 8 stainless clamps affixed. The film hung from these clams and the other end had a weighted clamp. The stick called a rack held 6 or 8 rolls. On the floor were 4 rectangular vats made of porcelain. One for the developer, one for the stop and one for the fix and one for water wash. The crocks were about 5 feet deep. One held the rack high over your head and immersed all 6 or 8 rolls in the chemical. The rack was bounced up and down to agitate the film. After a time the rack with film was again lifted high in the air to be transferred to the next crock. Later, Pako Corp. of Minneapolis made a machine to automatically lift the racks and transfer them from crock to crock. The end of the machine was a giant heated cavity with fans that forced dried the film. The machine called a Senior Film Machine could to 8 rolls per minute. The grandsons of this machine, called a dip and dunk are still in use today. </p>

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