View Full Version : How do i develop a dry plate?

27-Nov-2007, 16:55
I have recently purchased a beautiful 1901 Seroco Box camera which came with dry plates. Can someone tell me the basic process of how they work, from insertion in camera to developing them and transfering the image onto photopaper?? I've researched this on the web but the step between emersing the glass in a developing solution and how it ends up as a photograph (on paper) eludes me!!

Gene McCluney
27-Nov-2007, 19:26
The "plate" is just a film negative, but on glass, not film. The black and white film negative plate is developed in the dark in film developer just like a "film" b/w negative is. After the negative is processed, washed and dried. It is placed on top of a piece of photo print paper and light is allowed to expose the paper thru the negative. Then the print is developed, fixed and washed and dried. This is the final print. The general process is no different for dry plates, or modern film.

Currently there are no dry plates available for sale. Most people adapt their camera to use cut film sheets. Your old dry plates are probably too old to use.

Peter K
28-Nov-2007, 02:25
In totally darkness carefully remove one plate from the package. With this plate you can see how to load plates in the plateholder. Load the plate with the emulsion side up in the holder. To identify the emulsion side in the darkness rub carefully with the backside (!) of your fingers over the surface, the emulsion-side feels smoother than the glass-side. When you know how to handle plates and holders at light, try it in darkness.

Peter K

Jim Noel
28-Nov-2007, 15:29
I read the information referred to above. It does a good job of explaining what dry pates are and a couple of the varieties. It does not, however, talk about making prints.
MOst dry plates have more contrast than does film. I generally print these on albumen, but occasionally on low contrast gelatin silver papers. I have contact frames which are the same size as the dry plates. To use these I remove the glass and put the dry plate in its place with the emulsion facing the back of the printing frame. The negative is then contact printed like any other negative and processed normally.. It must be noted, that enlarging paper is exceedingly fast for contact printing. A low wattage lamp is needed, or use the enlarger light and close the diaphragm of the lens down as far as it will go. Raising the enlarger head also helps to attenuate the light.