Alwin Clements Electrophotography: The significance of the collection from a scientific point of view and conservation challenges, presented by Amalia Ranisau from Artlab Australia.
Amalia Ranisau, Photographs and Paper Conservator at Artlab Australia conserving the selenium-coated plates.
The South Australia and Northern Territory division of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) is presenting a series of Chinwag Webinars on conservation experiences, projects and research to all AICCM members and external attendees which commenced in 2021 and ongoing in 2022.
The third Chinwag in this series was presented on 24 February 2022:
Alwin Clements Electrophotography: The significance of the collection from a scientific point of view and conservation challenges, presented by Amalia Ranisau, Photographs and Paper Conservator, Artlab Australia.
A wooden box containing a mysterious mix of glass and metal plates, created by the scientist Alwin Clements, arrived at Artlab from the collections of the Migration Museum, History Trust of South Australia The plates required suitable conservation rehousing to protect the extremely friable media, as well as addressing the toxic off gassing.
Alwin Clements was employed by the Defence Standards Laboratory at Finsbury, South Australia in January 1948 and during the Cold War his work focused on developing an alternative to X-rays. The work was inspired by and built upon a new radiology system using vacuum-coated selenium plates instead of silver halide film. Alwin was directed to produce selenium-coated plates for radiography in Australia.
The project required design and production of equipment as well as design and trial of different chemicals, processes and materials. The research lead to the development of colour pigment, a world first invention, which became known as colour electrophotography.
The research resulted in approximately 50 patents. Eleven world patents were co-authored by Alwin Clements and Ken Metcalfe. One patent was obtained by Ricoh Co. of Japan, which was licensed by the Commonwealth to produce photocopying machines for the world market, based on the patent.
To view this webinar and Series 1 to 2