Friday, 28 October 2011

Verrill’s Autochromatic Process

There were some great old time photos attached to this story but unfortunately they do not appear to be by Verrill so could not include them./drf

Verrill’s Autochromatic Process

The Photographic Times - Bulletin; May 1, 1902; researched by Alan Schenker, digitized by Doug Frizzle, October 2011

NO doubt many of our readers have had their attention attracted to articles in the daily press announcing once again the discovery of photography in natural colors. The latest claimant is Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill, son of Prof. A. E. Verrill of Yale College. In response to a letter from us requesting some information regarding his process, Mr. Verrill kindly writes as follows:

"Regarding my color photography experiments, I shall be pleased to give you all the information possible. The process is a secret one, and I therefore cannot give the full details, but can inform you as to many portions of the manipulations. Several plates (negatives) are required, which are taken through special screens on resensitized plates. The paper is worked wet, and is coated with emulsions which by action of light will upon development yield the colors of the screens. The various negatives are then printed; the paper developed for each emulsion and finally cleared, the combinations of the colors in the varying proportions and super-imposition reproducing all the colors of the original. The process is not a gum-bichromate, carbon, or other pigment and bichromate process, but is photochemical, or, rather, solar-chemical, and the prints are fadeless, permanent, and indestructible by ordinary wear and tear. Owing to the fact that several negatives are required, life photographs or portraits are impossible by this process. By a partially mechanical blocking-out variation of the process (in which the various negatives are made by hand from a common original) very accurate and beautiful results can be obtained in portraiture or even from a black and white photograph. The success of the process depends almost entirely upon the emulsions of the paper and a chemical used as a clearing agent, which removes the surplus color and clears up the whites, at the same time fixing and rendering insoluble the color where affected by sunlight. The paper and emulsions will not keep, and the composition of the emulsions is very difficult and delicate work. It is therefore impracticable at present to put the invention on the market. Its greatest value lies in the possibilities it opens up in scientific work. I call the process "Autochromatic" and the prints "Auto-chromes."

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.