Metol stored June 2000 - Sep 2007

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Lloyd Erlick, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Lloyd Erlick

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    September 13, 2007, from Lloyd Erlick,

    Today I used some Kodak Metol I bought in
    June, 2000. The container was the original in
    which it was supplied. Only a few grams of
    Metol remained inside. I used seven grams,
    and perhaps the same still remain now. The
    container is full of air, of course, and I
    have certainly never excluded the air by
    filling with a relatively inert gas like
    nitrogen (which I have available). In fact,
    the extent of my effort to prolong the life
    of the Metol was to keep the bottle carefully
    sealed when not in use. It was in darkness in
    a drawer. It never saw storage in the

    Well, if you've read this far, you're
    probably not surprised to learn that the dreg
    of Metol I dug out of the container made up a
    developer that developed sheets of
    photographic paper very nicely. I did not
    perform scientific tests, or even side by
    side comparisons with fresher samples of
    Metol, but I can see the print develops
    exactly as I would expect.

    I don't know how old the Metol was when I
    finally got it. I bought it from a shop that
    placed an order with Kodak Canada and lo, it
    appeared, for about fifty dollars CND
    including taxes. Maybe it was manufactured a
    year before I got it, so that would be 1999.
    Anyway, it's the best part of a decade old
    now and hasn't deteriorated.

    Great stuff; I think they should find it work
    in the data processing industry.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Sep 13, 2007
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  2. Lloyd Erlick

    Peter Guest

    I recently finished off a bottle of Pictol (Metol) that was over 70
    yrs. old. It was fine.
    Peter, Sep 13, 2007
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  3. Lloyd Erlick

    UC Guest

    Some chemicals are satbler than others. Hydroquinone may not so long-
    UC, Sep 13, 2007
  4. UC wrote:

    Any idea if a can of D-76 with poptop lid would still be of any use today?
    The can should likely be airtight, unlike the plastic containers used
    today. No date seems to be stamped on the can, so no idea how old it is.
    Infrequent Photographer, Sep 14, 2007
  5. Developing agents all absorb oxygen readily. Usually,
    but not always, there is some sign of the oxidation.
    Hydroquinone changes from white crystals or powder to stuff
    that looks like coffee grouds and smells awful. Metol will
    turn brown or black. There may have been enough Metol in the
    container to absorb all the oxygen without becoming
    sufficiently oxidized to change color or become inactive.
    Richard Knoppow, Sep 14, 2007
  6. I do not know the exact date, but I saw a few new cans of the stuff around
    1975 or so (maybe a little earlier). But they stopped making them about
    then. So they are at least 30 years old. It should still be good unless the
    can had a leak.

    It my be the published D-76 formula, though. So do not keep it too long
    after mixing.
    Jean-David Beyer, Sep 14, 2007
  7. Lloyd Erlick

    Martin J Guest

    This is of course correct. The main factor however is that
    the Metol was dry and powdered. A watery solution of Metol
    will go bad fast, a dry powder lasts really long. My stash
    is about 10 years old now (I bought 1kg and have lots of
    it left...) and is as good as new (at least my FP4+ test
    strips say this...)

    Martin J, Sep 14, 2007
  8. Lloyd Erlick

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    September 14, 2007, from Lloyd Erlick,

    Since last summer, for about a year now, I've
    been playing around with Glycin. There's a
    developing agent that is short lived! My
    first container darkened steadily over its
    six month life. Even keeping it refrigerated
    between uses only slows the deterioration. No
    way to stop it. Supposedly Glycin keeps
    better in solution. I've never tried.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Sep 14, 2007
  9. Lloyd Erlick

    Ken Hart Guest

    IMHO, that can of D-76 is probably more valuable as a sealed can than as
    developer. Probably, if you open it, the powder may be a light brown/tan in
    color. If you mix it, it will probably go to brown in a short time.

    I'd leave it sealed and put it on eBay as a collector's item. You should get
    enough money for it to buy several packages of fresh stuff.
    Ken Hart, Sep 14, 2007
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