View Full Version : Kodak Polydol Question Resolution

HT Finley
14-Mar-2018, 20:39
Over on another site, a well-spoken fellow has a thread running about Kodak Polydol. I found it interesting, but upon further research I have reached the same dead end as that thread did. In case some folks on this site may not be aware of that thread, I will put the question: exactly what is the formula for Polydol? So far it seems to be a Microdol variant with sodium carbonate added. But that isn't very exact. Ideally, I'd like to know the exact formula as it was manufactured by Kodak. Plus any other opinions anybody wants to speak. Thank you.

Mark Sampson
14-Mar-2018, 22:07
As I've mentioned too many times before, I worked for Kodak (and its successor ITT), in the lab and as a photographer, from 1984-2010. I don't remember Polydol... but I did recently open two boxes of tech literature that, once, was the photo library on my desk. Haven't looked at any of that since they threw me out. I'll check for you tomorrow; maybe some information is buried there.

HT Finley
14-Mar-2018, 23:32
Thank you. I do remember the name Polydol from the days when leaflets came with film, and remember seeing cans of it as regular stock in the camera stores. Back then, any camera store worth its salt had a rather full line of all the Kodak products. I always went for the Microdol personally. But now I seem to be learning that Polydol was the same thing, but with full emulsion speed. Although I never personally signed on to the chatter about Microdol losing film speed. All the same, if Polydol shuts up the Microdol naysayers and gives the full tonal range and slight staining of Microdol, then I want to try some. But not if its just somebody claiming to have the Polydol formula, when it might really be some other manufacturer's concoction. Or even worse, third party misinformation. Developer formulas on the internet seem to be full of that kind of thing. I'll be looking forward to your post, with thanks. Sounds like a possibly credible information source.

Greg Davis
15-Mar-2018, 06:10
The full list of developers I have from Kodak is from Publication J-1, seventh edition (1973).
For film:
D-1 (ABC Pyro)

For prints:
Selectol Soft
Ektaflo, Type 1
Ektaflo, Type 2

The appendix in J-1 contains formulas for a few, but not Polydol or any other trade named formula. As far as I am aware, they never published those formulas, that is why we get D-52 instead of Selectol, etc..

Mark Sampson
15-Mar-2018, 10:12
Well I took a look through my (incomplete) library. Here's what I found:
1) No mention in my 1950 edition of the 'Kodak Reference Handbook'.
2) Can't locate my 1971 or 1974 editions of the 'Kodak Darkroom Dataguide". They're here somewhere, but those books do not list developer formulas.
3) Polydol is listed as a developer under several films in "Kodak Professional Black-and-White Films, Publication No. F-5", from 1976.
4) Polydol is not listed in my "Black-and-White Darkroom Dataguide, pub. No. R-20", from 1988.
5) The 'Photo-Lab Index' has three pages from 1971 on Polydol. Probably straight from a Kodak publication, it does not list the formula.
6) Not mentioned in "The Film Developing Cookbook", by Anchell and Troop, from 1998.
7) Not mentioned in "The Darkroom Cookbook, by Steve Anchell, from 1994.

A quick review suggests that Polydol was meant for large-volume, replenished applications. "...to meet the needs of portrait, commercial, industrial, and school photographers for a developer which yields high negative quality as well as long life and high capacity". (Photo-Lab Index).
1) I'd look for a copy of Publication No. L-5, "index to Kodak Information". EK probably offered a data sheet for Polydol (which I don't have).
2) Further reading at Ed Buffaloe's "unblinkingeye.com"
3) Perhaps you could find the MSDS on that product, although I wouldn't know where to look.

Sorry not to have found your answer, but perhaps there are some leads here. Best of luck!

Mark Sampson
16-Mar-2018, 15:41
OK, I found my 1974 edition of the Kodak Darkroom Dataguide. On the page "Key Properties of Film Developers" is the entry:

A long-life high-capacity medium-grain developer for sheet or roll films.
Stable replenishment characteristics for consistent quality in sink-line or production processing equipment."

Might point you in the right direction, at least.