time after time

GraLab Timer

Toronto. Back around 1960, I built my first darkroom. After an enlarger, my first purchase was a Gralab timer. This was when I first began developing and printing at home – high school and my time in Labrador and northern Quebec helped me hone the skills of developing film and printing positives (in black and white).

As you may know, a timer is needed for two critical operations: processing films via time and temperature, and printing positives using the same method.  Stop baths, fixing baths and washing are not that critical so a watch will do,  but development by time and temperature makes both critical.

As handy as the old Kodak Timer was, a massive Gralab with its big luminous dial and hands was the cat’s pyjamas for a serious amateur’s darkroom. Being a bit naive at the time I bought my Gralab, I added a foot switch socket, a push button “start”, an A/C fuse and a relay. Press the push button, and the relay sent power from the safelight to the enlarger for an accurately timed period preset on the large dial.

NB. The title of this post is from an old Cyndi Lauper song.

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