Carbon tissue

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A paper for making photographs by the carbon process. Developed about 1864 by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, carbon tissue was a Printing out paper that contained a permanent pigment, such as carbon (Lampblack), in a film of Gelatin. The paper was sensitized with potassium bichromate. When the carbon tissue was placed under a negative and exposed to light, the Bichromated gelatin selectively hardened in some areas proportional to the amount of light received. The gelatin from the exposed tissue was transferred to a paper and, at the same time, the soft, unchanged gelatin was washed away. This technique produced a print with a slight relief texture. Carbon prints were commonly used for book illustrations in the late 19th century. As use of the technique expanded, other pigments were used besides Carbon black and they were called pigment prints.

Synonyms and Related Terms

carbon prints; pigment prints

Resources and Citations

  • J.P.Ward, "Photography", The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries, Inc, New York, 1996.