Agfacolor Screen Plate


“During the war, an important new screen plate appeared, based on patents taken out by J. H. Christensen in 1908. He proposed to make a concentrated solution of gum in alcohol. Divided into three parts, the gum solutions were dyed red, green and blue, and emulsified in turpentine. The three emulsions were mixed and flowed on to a tacky varnished plate, where the gum droplets stuck to form an irregular mosaic. They were then rolled down so that each particle came into complete contact with its neighbours, removing the need to fill remaining spaces with opaque material, as the Autochrome plate had required. Christensen’s patents were acquired by Agfa AG in Germany, and experimental results were shown in 1912 in Berlin by Dr A. Miethe. The Agfa Colour process was introduced commercially in Germany in 1916, but for obvious reasons did not reach the English market until 1923. The coated Agfa Colour plate had a similar speed to Autochrome, and was developed by a similar reversal process. The British Journal of Photography reported, ‘The colour elements are particularly fine in grain and so transparent that… positives in rich but pleasant soft colouring are obtained’. The Agfa Colour plate was a potent rival to the Autochrome process, although it suffered from the same problem of clumping of the colour particles. A box of four Agfa Colour plates cost 4s in 1923, in quarter-plate size, compared with about 2s 9d for a dozen black and white plates of the same size.”

(Coe, Brian (1978): Colour Photography. The First Hundred Years 1840-1940. London: Ash & Grant, pp. 67-68.)

Secondary Sources

Beyer, Friedemann; Koshofer, Gert; Krüger, Michael (2010): UFA in Farbe. Technik, Politik und Starkult zwischen 1936 und 1945. München: Collection Rolf Heyne, on p. 44 View Quote and on p. 45. (in German) View Quote

Coe, Brian (1978): Colour Photography. The First Hundred Years 1840-1940. London: Ash & Grant, pp. 67-68. View Quote

Finger, Erhard (1994): Die Filmfabrik Wolfen. Porträt eines traditionsreichen Unternehmens 1909 bis 1994. GÖS-Gesellschaft für Sanierungsmaßnahmen Wolfen und Thalheim mbH, Filmfabrik Wolfen GmbH i.L., p. 28. (in German) View Quote

Finger, Ehrhard (1998): Die Pioniere des Wolfener Farbfilms. In: Industrie- und Filmmuseum Wolfen e. V. (ed.), Die Filmfabrik Wolfen. Aus der Geschichte, Heft 2, pp. 16-36. (in German) View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1933): Auflösungsvermögen und Farbwiedergabe in der Farbrasterphotographie. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, 3, 1933, pp. 188-207. View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1943): Die neuere Entwicklung der Farbphotographie. In: Ergänzungswerk zum Handbuch der wissenschaftlichen und angewandten Photographie. Wien: Julius Springer 1943, pp. 337-463, on pp. 387-388. View Quote

Koshofer, Gert (1966): Fünfundzwanzig Jahre deutscher Farbenspielfilm. In: Film – Kino – Technik, 20,10, 1966, pp. 259-262, on pp. 259-260. (in German) View Quote

Pénichon, Sylvie (2013): Twentieth Century Colour Photographs. The Complete Guide to Processes, Identification & Preservation. London, Los Angeles: Thames & Hudson, on p. 41–42 View Quote and on p. 72. View Quote