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Welcome to our news and history blog!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mr. Mead's Tip Up Washer (1901)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. July 27, 1901, Page 5

Mr. I.L. Mead (Isaac Lewis Mead) in his leisure moments turns his attention to photography, and being of an investigating and inventive turn of mind, has made some practical improvements in the manner of taking and developing photographs. His latest invention is what might be called a tip up water washer, or "perpetual motion washer," as some of his friends designated it.

It's a tub about the size of an ordinary soap hoax. On one end are two pipes which act as syphons, running up the inside of the tub and down again on the outside. 

On the bottom is a perforated piece of zinc about the size of a plate. On springs in the tub are arranged strips of muslin, one above another. Between these strips of muslin are placed the prints, right out of the "hypo" bath. The tub is placed on a table and rests on knobs, and inch or two high a few inches to one side of the center of the tub; a weight is placed on the top, on the side needing the weight to keep the balance.

A short hose is attached to the perforated zinc in the bottom of the tub, and this runs to a faucet. The water is turned on and the box begins to fill; just as it reaches the top, the syphon pipes, which have filled also, are emptied of air by the pressure; the water in the box rushes into them, the syphon connection is complete, the weight more than balances the other side, the tub tips, and the water is soon drained from it, for it flows out faster than it flows in. When it is emptied the tub tips back and begins to fill again. The prints remain in the tub about an hour when the chemicals are thoroughly washed out of them and they are ready to dry in the sun.

The ordinary way of washing prints, after their "hypo" bath, is in dishes, in which the water must be kept in motion and changed every minute or two, and this work being done by hand, is tedious, and requires an hour.

With Mr. Mead's machine a dozen or more prints may be washed with no trouble, and it is done better than by hand. The water is gently agitated all the time, for the tub fills and empties in about two minutes, and no handling of the prints during the washing is required. The tub works automatically and will continue n operation until the water is turned off, requiring no attention when once set in motion.

This is only one of a number of improvements of Mr. Mead's in the developing of photographs, but the most important of all.