Ziatype Compared to the Ware-Malde Process
It has come to my attention that there has
been some confusion concerning the chemical and functional differences
between my Ziatype system and the Ware-Malde system. This paper
is my argument in what has become a heated but gentlemanly disagreement
over the nature of the two processes.
Historically both processes stem from the earlier
work of Captain Pizzighelli. Pizzighelli, along with Captain Abney,
Hubl, and Willis, laid most of the groundwork for platinum and palladium
printing as we know it today. Captain
Abney’s complete book is available for downloading on
this website. Most of this early work laid down by these gentlemen
were variations on the theme of platinum printing that we are most
familiar with today, the traditional ferric oxalate, noble salt,
and wet development method.
Pizzighelli co-authored with Hubl, a book on
platinum printing. A little later, he took another tack and developed
a printing out method of making platinum prints. Essentially his
method, as described (i) used ammonium ferric oxalate or sodium
ferric oxalate, potassium chloroplatinite and a humidified paper
base for achieving the printing out effect. There was apparently
a commercial version of this paper and I have seen reports that
Steiglitz used it for a brief time. The process apparently fell
into oblivion after a short period.
In 1986 Dr. Michael Ware published a paper
in the Journal of Photographic Science (Sept-Dec 1986, Vol. 34)
published by the Royal Photographic Society, describing a process
quite similar to Pizzighelli’s, except Ware substitutes ammonium
chloroplatinite for Pizzighelli’s potassium chloroplatinite.
This substitution according to Ware was to achieve a higher solubility
and to make the chemically coated surface of the paper more hygroscopic.
He also states that ammonium chloropalladite can be used as well.
Over the years, Ware and his collaborator Pradip Malde, have evolved
an extensive workable system of printing based on this principle.
Ware in the 1986 JPS article cites Pizzighelli’s earlier work
on the traditional wet development process but not his work on POP
platinum printing. Whether Ware was unaware of Pizzighelli’s
earlier work on a POP process, or if this was an oversight is not
Bostick & Sullivan have been in business
since 1980 and have had a telephone Helpline since its inception.
I first became aware of the Pizzighelli POP method in the early
80’s as several customers had found descriptions of it in
the historical literature and reported varying degrees of success
using it. I had also received reports of what appeared to be totally
independent inventions of the POP process.
In the early 80’s Bostick & Sullivan
was a very tiny company and not too many printers knew of our powdered
ferric oxalate. Several guides to platinum printing in that period
were recommending the use of ferric ammonium oxalate, which was
then as now, commercially available. If one uses ferric ammonium
oxalate to make a traditional palladium print, and does not get
the paper totally bone dry, one will get a very strong printing
out image. Most people would logically conclude that there are possibilities
lurking about. This is quite likely how Pizzighelli discovered his
method. Again, to their credit Ware and Malde took the ball and
ran with it and produced a rational printing method using the Pizzighelli
The impression that those of us at B&S
got about the Ware-Malde process through our well connected Helpline
was that this was not a process for the faint of heart. Humidity
is a crucial control element in the Ware-Malde process and affects
image color, contrast, and printing speed, as can be seen in Ware’s
chart in the Notes section. My own experience in marketing platinum
and palladium processes was that the POP aspect would be appealing
to new printers, however the tricky humidification system would
be a big turnoff.
In late 1995 and early 1996 I began exploring
the double palladium salts. The traditional one used in the wet
process is sodium chloropalladite. I was interested primarily in
color control. I had hopes were that I’d find one that made
cool toned prints and one that made warm toned prints. ( I also
fantasized, greens, reds and blues, which were never to arise!)
I began going through the periodic table making various double salts
of palladium. Among the ones I tried were: potassium, sodium, ammonium,
barium, zinc, tin, tungsten, magnesium, lithium and cesium. Either
like tin, they didn’t make a salt, or like barium, precipitated
out in the double oxalates. After reading in an old chemistry book
that lithium chloride was assumed to be the most hygroscopic compound
known, I immediately tried lithium chloropalladite in the belief
that it may be very hygroscopic as well. The lithium salt, unlike
the rest tended to produce an almost blue black image throughout
a wide humidity range. Originally I was not particularly looking
for a POP process, but the apparent hygroscopicity of this material
pointed me in that direction.
My thoughts on this were that if I could find
a corresponding "brown" producing component that could
be mixed with the lithium palladium salt, we might have a system
for POP printing that was largely independent of humidity. Lithium
was at the top of the periodic table, and is a fairly weird element
in that some chemists surmise that it is really a gas masquerading
as a metal. I guessed that one of the very heavy elements at the
bottom of the chart may give very different printing characteristics.
I quickly hit upon the cesium salt of palladium, and as luck would
have it, characteristic tendency is to produce brown prints. The
cesium salt, like the lithium salt, tends to be more hygroscopic
than its cousins, though I say this only through observation, as
I have no way to measure it accurately.
I have concluded through testing that the two
polar palladium salts in terms of color are lithium chloropalladite
and cesium chloropalladite. There is a nice chemical symmetry to
this as they are both double salts built on alkaline metal compounds.
The lithium is at the top of the periodic table and is a very light
element, the cesium is at the bottom, and is a very heavy compound.
So far what had evolved was a printing system
where very brown to blue black prints could be obtained in a very
wide humidity range. This was a humidity range that could be set
with little skill by a printer with a hair dryer. The system was
also a pure palladium one, and did not need the expensive platinum
salt. In fact platinum does not seem help print quality or permanence.
All that was left for a fully chemically controlled
system was to solve the contrast problem. I discovered that a solution
of ammonium dichromate, used in varying concentration of from 2
to 20 percent depending on print size, produces a wide range of
contrast without degrading or graining the image.
The Ziatype is an evolving system. I have recently
discovered that brown colors can also be chemically induced by the
use of an 80% solution of sodium tungstate. This compound seems
to mimic the affects of the historically used mercuric chloride
but works with palladium as well instead of just platinum. It has
none of the dangers associated with the mercury salt, and the color
produced by the use of sodium tungstate is slightly different from
that obtained with the cesium salt.
The Ziatype system is an attempt to produce
a pure palladium printing system based on Pizzighelli’s principle,
but one where color and contrast were chemically controlled and
where the paper humidity plays a minor control function.
Ziatype and Ware-Malde
Ziatype uses the unique color polarity of the lithium and cesium
salts of palladium to chemically achieve a wide range of color
possibilities. The black to brown color difference of these
two salts at a set humidity level, is far greater than that
achieved with Ware-Malde ammonium salts. Color, contrast and
humidity are largely independent of each other.
||The Ware-Malde process uses the ammonium
salts of palladium and platinum. Color is controlled through
a complex balancing of both humidity and the ratio of paltinum
and palladium salts.
||The Ziatype can print negatives in the
range of .8 to 2.0 by chemically controlling the contrast.
||The Ware-Malde system uses humidity alone
to control contrast. Changes in humidity also affects print
||The Ziatype is an all palladium system.
Platinum has been seen to have no benefits either in terms of
print quality or permanence. Ziatype chemistry can be mixed,
coated and exposed quickly, with no interruption of work flow.
||The Ware-Malde system uses platinum as
one of its color control ingredients and recommends a one-hour
gestation period before coating of any emulsion containing platinum.
A sure interruption of a printer’s work flow.
||The Ziatype works within a wide humidity
range that can be set by a worker through observation.(ii) (iii)
||The Ware-Malde system recommends a humidity
chamber for control.
The Ziatype system, as you can see, is a not
a knock-off or a repackaging of the Ware-Malde system, but an attempt
to take Captain Pizzighelli’s basic principle and eliminate
what I perceived as basic defects in the Ware-Malde system. The
only common elements in the Ware-Malde system and the Ziatype system
are the use of ammonium ferric oxalate to effect the developing
out. This is of course Captain Pizzighelli’s discovery in
the late 1800’s. The two palladium salts, the cesium and the
lithium, are in the Ziatype system for a reason. They provide color
polarity and eliminate the need for expensive platinum. They are
not disguised analogs of the Ware-Malde’s ammonium salts.
The Ziatype system is not a thinly disguised
marketing scheme and in fact, could be seen as working against Bostick
& Sullivan’s self interest due to the elimination of the
more profitable platinum compound. We sell the ammonium chloroplatinite
and the ammonium chloropalladite and all of the other compounds
for the Ware-Malde system. It is of little economic interest to
us as to which method is used. Some may say that in fact we may
benefit more from our customers using the Ware-Malde system. However
my philosophy has been that we economically benefit when printers
have easy, controllable, and economical printing methods. Nothing
quite helps our economic well being than having our customers be
successful in their printing endeavors.
The Ziatype is aimed at the casual to skilled
printer. Its goal was to provide "dial-in" chemical controls
for color and contrast, and to eliminate complex humidity controls.
I think it comes very close to achieving those goals.
This is not to denigrate Dr. Ware or Professor
Malde. Their system provides excellent prints in the hands of skilled
practitioners and they should be commended for their work. Particularly
Dr. Ware’s work in the ferric salts and the ferric processes.
His Cyanotype process and the Argyrotype process are landmark processes
in the history of alternative process photography.
The Ware-Malde Characteristics chart:
Characteristics of Platinum-Palladium Sensitizers
Speed is relative, arithmetic, referring to middle tones.
logH is the Printing Exposure Range, extending from fog+0.04 to
(i) Modern Heliographic Processes; A manual if instruction in the
art of reproducing drawings, engravings, manuscripts, etc.; by the
action of light; for the use of engineers, architects, draughtsman,
artists and scientists. By Ernest Lietze, mechanical engineer, D.
Van Nostrand Company, New York, 1888
(ii) Current research is showing that measurement of the resistance
in the print with an inexpensive ohmmeter will give an even more
accurate estimate of the humidity in the print. This might aid the
beginning printer in getting a feel of how the paper should appear
when properly humidified.
(iii) In the "One Step" method the printer is instructed
to dry with a cool air stream until a rubber gloved finger suddenly
slides rather than drags across the paper. This produces a safe
(for negatives) dry emulsion surface with an underlying damp reservoir
of paper. For warmer tones with cesium, the printer is instructed
to dry for a half minute more.