[rollei_list] Re: OT Seal Dry Mount Press

  • From: "Richard Knoppow" <dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 01:06:57 -0700

----- Original Message ----- From: "Douglas Nygren" <dnygr@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 6:19 PM
Subject: [rollei_list] Re: OT Seal Dry Mount Press

What happened to Seal? The advent of digital, the Great Recession? What?

It would seem Seal would be impervious to the digital age. Maybe I don't understand digital paper.


I couldn't find much with a casual web search. Seal sold out to Hunt-Bienfang probably fifteen or more years ago. I was unable to find out why. I don't buy the idea that they lost a lot of business because gallery types don't like dry mounting. My guess is that most dry mounting and laminating is for other purposes than gallery sales. Dry mounting is very permanent and provides a substantial amount of protection to photographic images. The reason gallery owners don't like it is that its _too_ permanent and it is difficult to remove dry mounted prints from their mountings if any work must be done on them or if the mounting must be replaced. Some newer materials are removable fairly easily by reheating the press but most of the older tissues are very difficult to remove. Whatever the reason IMO dry mounting is the best looking mount for display purposes. However, even if one wants to use hinge mounting for fiber prints the best method of getting them flat is to dry them in a dry mount press. This flattening process is part of the normal dry mounting procedure and is surprisingly permanent. It works at low heat so does not damage the emulsion. It is not necessary to flatten RC prints. Low temperature mounting material has been available for many years. Originally it was intended for color prints but gradually became the standard and, of course, worked well for B&W RC paper. The presses and materials made by Bienfang appear to be very similar to the old Seal line, however Light Impressions also makes presses and mounting materials. Their presses are also similar to the Seal line. I have no idea of how two companies got such similar designs although the Seal patents, if any, must have expired years ago. I have written a procedure for dry mounting which includes the flattening process which can be used alone. This was posted to several Usenet groups in the past and is probably still available. I also have the Seal handbook for dry mounting (if I can find it). Since I've acquired a scanner since the last time I had it in hand I think its time to scan it and find someone who will put it on their web site. The Seal method is different in several respects from the Kodak dry mounting method which is found in both Kodak literature and in a number of photography handbooks of the 1950s vintage. The Kodak method, which begins with drawing an X through the center of the print with the tacking iron is guaranteed to produce wrinkles and other unevenness. The Seal method OTOH, will produce perfectly flat prints with no edge leakage or other problems every time and is pretty easy to do. For archival purposes (if you want to store prints for a century or so) its just as well to dark store them and never display them. If the principle purpose of a print is to be displayed then the appearance becomes important and takes precedence (IMO) over ideal archival storage.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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