Naturally I meant that Joseph was using Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner,
though I neglected to say so specifically......And yes, I told him that
the smell was ammonia, though you want a little support when giving
I can't resist adding, however, that ammonia was what they put in
smelling salts for the victorian ladies who fainted -- probably just made
them stronger. Certainly I have breathed enough ammonia fumes when doing
home-mixed bleach-and-redevelop toning to be, as I said at the time,
adapted to life on Venus. I never felt any harmful effects, in fact got
to rather like it...Invigorating.
However Carson says NOBODY has mixed selenium toner from powder since
forever. I mixed some not that long ago. Other formulas have several
advantages, including the fact that you can omit the fixer that Kodak
includes so that you can use it for re-halided prints without dissolving
your image. Also, you can get a fine variety of tones, including an almost
albumen-purple tone on the re-develop. The downside is all the scare
stories about selenium, making you so nervous you practically drop your
crucible. Also, the toner, once mixed, doesn't keep well. Goes off in a
few weeks, if not sooner.
Now, however, I stick to healthier materials, like dichromates.
On Fri, 27 Oct 1995, Carson Graves x4692 3NE wrote:
> If you are working in such an enclosed space that a respirator is
> necessary, then you might never know when a respirator isn't
> functioning correctly. Common failures include bad seals (common w/
> facial hair) and expired cartridges. Either might cause only a faint
> odor which is too easy to get used to and you may not even notice.
That's a VERY good point -- suggesting that, within limits, one is safer
without a respirator. (I heard, BTW, of someone who died using a dust
mask. Seems fumes of whatever concentrated in mask & killed him.)
> As for selenium toner, the odor as I understand it, is ammonia not
> selenium. You don't want to breath it in any concentration, just
> as you don't want to breath the fumes from your kitchen cleaning
> products, but it hasn't been proven to be especially lethal. It is
> probably safer than breathing NYC air :-)
That's the second crack in my in-box today about NYC. What are you
breathing out there on the farm besides cow methane & diesel fumes?
> Nobody (I've ever heard of) *ever* works with powdered selenium. Used
> to (30 - 40 years ago) have to make selenium toner from power. Kodak
> packaged it in a crushable glass vial in a container of liquid, so even
> then it too some effort to expose yourself. Current formulas are fairly
Actually, I have a quarter pound in a little jar -- don't remember where
I got it, but not from Kodak. I'll also add that the one really BAD
near-death moment, when I guess I added something acid, was with Kodak Rapid
This discussion is making me quite nostalgic for my old selenium toners.
Well, onward & upward & thanks again to all. (I'm going to download all
& hand to Joseph with instructions to hand to his friend.)