More Cadmium Free Collodion Work- Extended Life

I have been doing more work with the all lithium formula.  This time I made a batch and split it into three samples so I can try and extend the life of  this rapid ripening collodion.

Sample 1 –  All Li (Control 1)

Sample 2 – + acetone

Sample 3 – add acetone after 10 days of ripening

Sample 4 – All Lithium formula aged 2 months

Sample 5 – Lea formula 3 Aged 5 months. (Control 2)

This Kodak patent explains how adding acetone to a salted collodion mixture will halt the aging  of the collodion.

The idea is to see if I can extend the life of the mixed all lithium formula beyond 1 month.

After aging the samples for 24 hours I made some plates.

Samples 1,2 & 3 all behaved the same – as expected.  At one day the all lithium formula is faster than the cadmium version, but not as fast as the lithium formula ripened a week to 10 days.

All Lithium                                     Sample 1 (2 and 3 seconds)


All Lithium –                  2 months old (6 seconds)    Sample 2 (3 seconds)



Sample 5 Lea Formula 3 (7 seconds)


It looks like at 2 months old the all lithium formula is now as slow as a the cadmium formula.

After 10 days of aging, I retested Samples 1, 2, & 3

At 10 days all were faster.  Here are samples 1 & 2 (2 seconds)


Sample 3 with acetone added  (2 seconds)


All 3 plates were basically all the same.  Easily faster than at 1 day of ripening.

The collodion Samples 1 & 3 both ripened and turned more straw color, but sample 2 stayed the same pale yellow.  The interesting bit is that sample 2 was just as fast as samples 1 & 3.

Samples 1, 2 & 3 after 10 days

photo At 10 days I added acetone to sample 3.  It will be interesting to see how these all age and ripen.  Hopefully stability can be increased while maintaining speed.

I also added Acetone to the 2 month old all lithium formula.  This has been mentioned in the period literature as a way of extending the life of collodion that has gone off.  So far I have not seen a change.  The collodion is still dark & red.

More to come!



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A wet plate collodion photographer trained in chemistry and interested in new ways to do an old process.

2 thoughts on “More Cadmium Free Collodion Work- Extended Life”

  1. Hi!
    This is nice test and resolution!
    I using other cadmium free – Poe boy collodion (Potassium).
    So I thinking the stabilization method with acetone.
    Do you have any experience with this?
    If I dropping acetone (all solution 0,2%) in Poe Boy whether is it good?

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