Kodak Polytoner

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Does anyone know just what Polytoner is? Does it have the archival properties of selenium toner? Good dilutions? I'm tempted to try it after seeing Linda Butler's Italy book. In the article about that work in View Camera, she said she gets the kind of peachy antique look of those pictures with Polytoner on Forte Elegance paper.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), October 30, 2000



Kodak Polytoner is a direct polysulfide (sp?) toner. It is as archival as any sulfur toner (ie. sepia, etc.) Whether it is as archival as Selenium I don't know. It will offer protection from airborne contaminants, but I think a side by side comparison over time would yield Selenium being more archival.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), October 30, 2000.

Yes Poly-toner is a direct sulphide toner, however it also contains selenium. How much selenium does it take to make an image archival? Would the amount that is in Poly-toner be able to make and image archival? If so, at what dilution? Just thought I would add on to the previous question. Thanks

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), October 31, 2000.

John, there's a Kodak book at the bookstore that is yellow (can't remember the name of it tho) that has picture examples of a print toned using polytoner, selenium etc. It's shows what kind of looks you get, and talks about the toners. Someone else may remember the name.

-- Wayne Crider (waynec@apt.net), October 31, 2000.


I am not a chemist and it's been a long time since I had a chemistry class, but this subject is of interest to me so I try to read as much as possible. Selenium renders a print "archival" because it changes changes silver to silver selenite (sp?) As I understand it, a change occurs at the molecular level to encase each molecule of silver in selenite, thereby protecting it. This makes the silver stable from environmental degradation, but the print may still not be "archival."

Sulfur toners, whether direct interact with silver to form ?silver sulfite? I'm not sure what the selenium in Polytoner does, but I have tried (by mistake) selenium toning a print, then Sepia toning it and the Sepia toner din't take - just a very minor change in tone.

Sulfur plays a major part in contaminating silver and degrading prints. Sulfur toned prints are considered more "archival," because they have already "degraded."

I've put archival in quotes, because it means different things to different people. To me archival means something that will last several hundred years, while others a single lifetime is sufficient. If you are really striving for archival, then I think a process other than silver is in order. If a lifetime is all you're after, then Selenium or Sulfur toners will probably sufice.

Anyone out there more knowledge/experience please comment or correct me.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), October 31, 2000.

John - You can tone a straight print(after the wash step)in Polytoner, or one that has been bleached in dilute potassium ferricyanide.

The effects are highly variable, depending on your paper, the amount of bleaching, the dilution of polytoner, the quality of your water, and perhaps the alignment of the stars in the sky. A concentrated solution (1:4) will give a purplish-brown; a more dilute solution (1:15) will tend toward a yellower brown. More bleach leads to a yellower tone also. Split-toning is also possible. In my opinion, some beautiful tones are possible, and some ghastly ones as well.

Buy a big bottle, make lots of prints of one image, and start experimenting. And use good ventilation: like all sulfide toners, Polytoner stinks.

By the way, I think Linda Butler's images are also gold-toned.

Regards, HMF

-- Henry Friedman (friedlew@worldnet.att.net), November 01, 2000.

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