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Antique Platinotype Print - The Yacht Phyrne and H.M.S. Victory in Portsmouth Harbour

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HMS Victory label

Platinotype print of The Yacht Phyrne and H.M.S. Victory in Portsmouth

Regarding the silver photographic processes too unstable and toning a stopgap, William Willis Junior (1841-1923) tried to invent an unalterable method. In June 1873, he filed a patent for a system with three layers. The first layer is a solution of sodium chloroplatinate, the second a solution of silver nitrate, and last, a solution of ferrous oxalate. Once exposed, the paper was developed in a solution of potassium or ammonium oxalate, followed by rinses in an acidic solution, then in a solution of sodium thiosulfate. This first version was complex, but William Willis continued his research and published simplified processes in 1878, without silver and 1880 (solution of ferrous oxalate and potassium chloroplatinate, the developer is a warm bath of potassium oxalate, which is the basis of current processes). He founded the Platinotype Company that sold paper with platinum. In 1881, the British Photographic Society decorated him with the medal of progress for his invention of the platinotype.