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Thread: Lead and Mercury?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Lead and Mercury?

    Curious where lead and mercury might be found in the darkrooms of traditional, alternative and historic processes. I know there are lots of harmful chemicals and metals, but wondering if these two are commonly found...

    Thanks!
    David Aimone Photography
    Critiques always welcome...

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    26

    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    Found some mercury thermometers in my local darkroom just last week.

  3. #3
    Old School Wayne
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    1,173

    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    I know my dad had a vial of mercury in his darkroom, but I have no recollection of what he used it for anymore. Its possible he just stored it there and didn't use it for photography.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    southwest PA, USA
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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    If someone painted their darkroom before 1978 there could be lead paint.

    I really don't know of these two being used in photography recently, much less being common. Is this just idle curiosity or is there a real question about it?
    Bethe King
    www.ewfisher.com

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    Daguerrotypes use mercury
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    Lead: some old darkrooms - and chemistry labs - have lead sinks. There are also lead toners and some lead compounds were used with other metal toners. Some early colour processes used lead chromate to form the yellow image.


    Mercury: used in Daguerreotypes. Mercury (II) chloride was used to intensify negatives. With wet plate emulsions it can give a positive look. It was also used in various toners and colour-forming processes.



    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NMJxyAwGvKcC
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xUCNBgAAQBAJ

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wik...num,_Palladium
    Mentions lead, mercury, uranium toning!

    google search for "lead toning" mentions formulas for lead toning from the turn of the 20th century

    http://www.getty.edu/conservation/pu...latinotype.pdf
    Mentions lead, mercury, uranium and cesium!

    Of course, hand coloring could have any variety of chemicals in the paints.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    Nope, new house no lead paint; no mercury thermometers; ABS Delta plastic darkroom sink; don't do Daguerreotypes; no old thermometers;

    So far so good, in the darkroom anyway!
    David Aimone Photography
    Critiques always welcome...

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    2,209

    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    If you're worried about finding them in a modern darkroom, the most likely source would be mercury salts from a broken compact fluorescent bulb.

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Re: Lead and Mercury?

    Use palladium and gold toners from Christopher James' book, using Bostick and Sullivan solutions of gold and palladium chloride with citric acid and distilled water only.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wik...num,_Palladium
    Mentions lead, mercury, uranium toning!

    google search for "lead toning" mentions formulas for lead toning from the turn of the 20th century

    http://www.getty.edu/conservation/pu...latinotype.pdf
    Mentions lead, mercury, uranium and cesium!

    Of course, hand coloring could have any variety of chemicals in the paints.
    David Aimone Photography
    Critiques always welcome...

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