Most of the descriptions of the following Kodak papers come from the book “Photo Lab Index” by Henry M. Lester. This book is gigantic, and contains a massive amount of vintage photography info. It’s essentially a binder filled with 24 different sections about various photography related info. Copyright dates for the sections range from 1943 to 1953. Some of the papers listed in this section actually seem to be films, made for darkroom exposing and developing with paper developers. I’ll probably wind up listing these in the film category, too.
In addition to the list of Kodak papers from the “Photo Lab Index,” I’ve also included information on some other Kodak papers that apparently weren’t made during the time period covered by the book.
If I’ve actually made a print using a specific paper, I’ll note the optimal conditions for printing that I discovered. I would use that only as a starting guide, as any prints made with vintage photo papers would vary due to storage conditions, developer used, light source, etc.
Kodak papers often have an alphabetical and numeric code after the name of the paper (for example, “Azo F-3”). The number refers to the contrast rating of that paper, and the letter refers to the surface type. Here’s a breakdown of the Kodak paper surface code:
A, B = Smooth lustre
C = Smooth matte
E = Fine-grained lustre
F = Smooth glossy
G = Fine-grained lustre
H = Fine-grained matte
J, K = High lustre
L = Rough lustre
N = Smooth lustre
P = Fine-grained lustre
R, S = Tweed lustre
SA = Smooth lustre folding stock
V, W = Suede matte
Y = Silk lustre
Z = Tapestry lustre
Kodak Azo – A contact printing paper of many uses. Cold black tone. (I’ve developed a few contact prints with Azo, and for paper from the mid 40s, I had the best luck with a 12 second exposure using a 15 watt bulb, and developing for 4.5 minutes. Azo from the mid 50s seemed to be a little faster – a 5 second exposure and 1 minute developing time sufficed.)
Kodak Athena, Type 1265 – Contact printing paper with pleasing warmth of tone. Recommended safelight: OO or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52.
Kodak Illustrator’s Azo – New contact paper having the speed of Azo and somewhat greater warmth of tone. Recommended safelight: OO or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52.
Kodabromide – A fast enlarging paper of exceptional quality. Recommended safelight: O or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52 or D-72 (or, as my pack of paper says, use Dektol of cold tones, or Selectol for warm tones).
Kodabrom – I believe this is just an earlier version of Kodabromide. The pack I have dates from 1939.
Kodabrome II RC – And I think this is the more recent version of Kodabromide. The box I have dates from the mid-70s. Enlarging paper. Warm-black image tone. Graded contrast. Recommended safelight: OC. Recommended developer: Kodak Dektol, D-72, or Ektaflo, Type 1.
Kodak Opal – Has warmth of tone and gradation. It has sufficient speed for enlarging with standard equipment, and can be used for contact printing with reduced illumination. Brown-black image tone. Recommended safelight is OC or OA. Recommended developer is Kodak Ektonol or Selectol. (I made some contact prints with Opal from the mid-1960s and must stress the reduced illumination part. A 15 watt bulb is too bright unless you’re making a contact print of under a second. A 1.5 minute developing time was sufficient)
Kodak Platino – A medium high-speed enlarging paper with slightly less warmth of tone than Opal. Recommended safelight: O or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52.
Kodak Resisto N – A contact printing paper, produced by coating on an emulsion similar to Velox on a special water resistant base. This base permits rapid washing and holds size during processing much better than an ordinary paper base. Recommended safelight: O or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-72.
Kodak Resisto Rapid N – An enlarging paper made with an emulsion similar to Kodabromide in the the manner of the above paper.
Kodak Ad-Type – A fast contact printing paper with the speed of Azo. It can be folded without cracking for mailing or making folded greeting cards. Recommended safelight: OO or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-72.
Kodak Velox – A fast contact printing paper with a blue-black image tone. Recommended safelight: OA. Recommended developer: Kodak Dektol (3 second exposures made with a 15 watt bulb seemed to work well with my prints. Developing time ranged from 50 seconds to 1 minute, 20 seconds)
Kodak Velox Rapid – Designed for use with the Velox Rapid Printer or similar optical printers. It is faster than Velox, suitable for fast contact printing, but is too slow for enlarging. Recommended safelight: O or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-72.
Kodak Velite – A photographic paper which can be exposed and processed under tungsten light, fluorescent light, and even subdued daylight. It is ideal for photographers without a darkroom. It is recommended for use in a contact printer using a 60 watt bulb. (This is an extremely easy paper to use. Start with a 5 second illumination at 60 watts and go from there)
Kodak Illustrator’s Special – Has a full-scale, brilliant emulsion of the quality and speed of Opal. Recommended safelight: O or OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52.
Kodak Translite Film – Intended for transparencies, and consists of a safety film base coated with emulsion on both sides. The speed and contrast of Safety Translite Film are approximately the same as those of Platino No. 2. Translite Film yields especially beautiful transparencies when colored with Kodak Transparent Oil Colors or Kodak Transparent Water Colors. Recommended safelight: OA. Recommended developer: Kodak D-52.
Translite Enlarging Paper – Similar to Translite Film except that paper is used for the emulsion support. It is coated on both sides with light-sensitive emulsion and has a printing speed similar to Kodak Opal Paper.
Carbro Paper, Type 1128 – A bromide enlarging paper designed especially for making either monochrome prints or color prints by the carbro printing process. The emulsion has a long exposure scale, is coated on single-weight stock, and has no antiabrasion coating.
Opalure Print Film – A printing material having an emulsion similar to that of Kodak Opal Paper. It is coated on a white film base It gives beautiful warm tones with direct development. (I’ve never used any of this, but I want some!)
Kodagraph Papers – Designed for the reproduction of documents and engineering drawings. Suitable for projection printing from reduced scale negatives and for exposure in process cameras; for document and drawing reproduction by contact printing from the original; and for contact printing on blueprint-type equipment. (I may actually have some of this – I have a brown, unopened Kodak paper box from the 1940s labeled “Linagraph Orthochromatic” It’s, apparently, a 250 foot roll of 35mm film, but it also says “light weight” and is graded with an “A,” just like paper would be. Also, the box says “photographic paper.” So I have no idea what this is, but once I crack it open, I’ll update.)
Kodak Super-Speed Direct Positive – Provides a direct positive image by chemical reversal, and is useful for making prints directly from transparencies. It can also be used inside the camera. The emulsion is orthochromatic, and has a short range of exposure latitude.
Kodak Aristo – A contact printing paper of moderate warmth intended expressly for contact printing of portraits.
Kodak Medalist – A new projection paper, having a speed similar to Kodabromide, for illustrators, commercial photographers, and portrait photographers. Contrast is controlled by varying exposure and development (although, the Medalist papers I have all seem to be graded for contrast). Slightly warm tone. Recommended safelight: OC. Recommended developer: Kodak Dektol or Ektaflo, Tpe 1 or 2. (Medalist dating from 1969 produced this image. A little low contrasty/fogged, but not too horrible.)
Kodak Ektalure – A warm toned paper, approximately 2.5 times as fast as Kodak Opal, intended for use by portrait photographers. Emulsion resists blocking in shadow areas. Brown-black image tone. Recommended safelight: OA. Recommended developer: Kodak Ektonol or Selectol.
Kodak Portrait Proof – A rough, single weight paper, slightly slower than Platino. It is normally intended for making proofs from professional portrait negatives. Portrait Proof Paper is a developing-out paper, not a printing-out paper (I have no idea what that means). For use in enlarging or fast contact. Brown-black image tone. Recommended safelight: OA, Recommended developer: Kodak D-52, Ektonol or Selectol. (I tried using this a contact printing paper, and it was simply too fast for my 15 watt bulb. I’d recommend either using it as an enlarging paper or reducing the illumination in your contact printer)
Kodak Studio Proof – A smooth, single weight printing-out proofing paper which requires sunlight or extremely brilliant artificial light for printing.
Kodak Dye Transfer – The required paper for the Kodak Dye Transfer Process. Unsensitized, specially treated for proper dye imbibition characteristics.
Kodak Polycontrast Rapid – For fast enlarging. Warm-black image tone. Variable contrast. Recommended safelight: OC. Recommended developer: Kodak Dektol.
Kodak Polycontrast – For enlarging or fast contact printing. Warm-black image tone. Variable contrast. Recommended safelight: OC. Recommended developer: Kodak Dektol, or Ektaflo, Type 1.
Kodak Polycontrast Rapid II RC – I’m assuming this is just the newer version of Polycontrast Rapid. Variable contrast. Recommended safelight: OC.