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The Wet Plate process is a photographic process, widely used to produce negatives but also employed in a modified form to produce positives (ambrotypes and tintypes).

Invented by Frederick Scott Archer of England in 1851

A piece of clear glass is coated with a very thin layer of iodized collodion (made from gun-cotton (nitrocellulose) dissolved in ether and alcohol, mixed with potassium iodide). The coated plate is dipped in a silver solution in the darkroom which makes it light-sensitive. After this, the plate must be immediately exposed in a camera. The exposure needs to be completed before the chemicals on the plate have time to dry out--hence "Wet Plate"

After development and fixing, the negative can be printed on any material. Most wet plate negatives, however, were used to make prints on albumen paper.

Read more about Photographic Processes

Wet plate. (Photog.)

A plate the film of which retains its sensitiveness only while wet. The film used in such plates is of collodion impregnated with bromides and iodides. Before exposure the plate is immersed in a solution of silver nitrate, and immediately after exposure it is developed and fixed.


© Webster 1913

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