Friday, November 7, 2014

Harold Leroy Harvey 777 (1899-1971)

Very few people know of this man. And even others could care less. Yet for those of us, in the photo world. We long to truly know him. To try to look into his thoughts and capture the beautiful images that he once saw or dreamed of, with visions of Godliness.

Born on July 7th, 1899, in Baltimore, Maryland, Harold grew up with the dream of being a great artist/painter. He set  out to complete that dream and he did become that "great" painter.

But what Harold failed to see or to understand fully, was that he and his great works of art and photo chemistry discoveries, would not become famous, valuable, or prized; until long after his passing.

Harold's works of art, sold for less than $80.00 dollars during his life time, yet they sold for hundreds of dollars, when his estate first went up for sale. But at today's auctions, his paintings are being sold for thousands of dollars, under the "Unknown /Non famous Artist" auctions. Some of his paintings to date, have sold for $5000.00 dollars or more.

Harold got into photography as a mere side line, to earn funds to make ends meet, when his paintings were not selling well. Children photos, was always a means to grab a few easy dollars during his earlier days as a painter/artist.

After leaving military service in WW1, New York's Broadway, offered a much better means of earning larger sums of money.  So Harold entered into the world of photographing celebrities. And built up a good size practice.

Yet by the late 1920's, Harold Harvey was seeing many of his customers leave for greener pastures in California, as they sought a motion picture career in the early days of Hollywood. Yet Harold Harvey got real lucky, and landed a contract with Chesterfield Tobacco; as a illustrator/photographer in their ads department.

But I am not truly interested in that portion of Harold Leroy Harvey's life. I am more interested into what got him interested in photo chemistry. I would have enjoyed talking to him, one on one. But that is a mute subject in its self, at this time; since he died 43 years ago. Yet the persons that inspired Harvey towards photo chemistry were Harold D. Russell, Arthur W.M. Dickins, and inventors Charles J. Thatcher of the USA, and Frank Clement Starnes of the UK.

Harold wanted his photos to pop, for he was not getting the results he wanted with the items already on the market. So looking for ways to improve his work, plus working in the heat during the New York City summers, he went seeking some assistance and found some local help from Charles J. Thatcher.

Charles J. Thatcher was well known in and around New York City's (Hollywood) film studios and the Broadway circuit, before most of the old East Coast Studios packed up and moved to California, where they could do filming year round. Thatcher's system of film development was far superior to that of Ansco and Kodak's; in outputting outstanding developed movie film. But like it is in any business, money talks and B.S. walks. And with Ansco and Kodak being willing to invest large sums of money  into many of the up and coming film studios, they got the go ahead O.K., in the front rooms and the darkrooms of many of the film studios. Because in the early 1900's, the major users of 35 mm film and the chemicals used to develop them, were the film studios. Most amateurs photographers, were using 616 roll film or 620/120 roll film in 6 x 6 or 6 x 9,  and sheet film. Harold wanted to use the new 35 mm cameras that were then on the market, because he could take more photos with it. 22 or 24 shots, than the normal 12, or 9 photo shots.

According to history, Harvey stated that it took him 8 to 10 months to design his formula for 777 and two years of testing. Harold Harvey had various other friends and associates, that assisted him in his development of the now well known 777 developers. In fact, when Harvey sold his 777 formula to Defender, he continued to create similar formulas for film development, that he shared with friends and fellow professionals. And thou they were not called 777, these developers were very similar in their function.

Harvey would buy back the rights to use the 777 trademark from DuPont in the early 1950's. DuPont sold the rights because they did not truly push the sell of DuPont 777. And the sells of 777, were very low, compared to some of DuPont's other photo products. For nearly 12 years, DuPont had lost money on Defender/DuPont 777. This came about because, Photograph Studios would purchase only a few cases of 777, and would not buy another supply for two or three years. When their business and sells were good, studios would stock up on 777, in the form of several cases. Which would serve them for years. Even DuPont's sells to hobbyist that used 777, were also very low. Because it would last for a long time before requiring replacement.

Harold Leroy Harvey, open his new business, "Harvey Photochemicals Inc"., in Newton, New Jersey; in the 1950's. But just like DuPont, sells were slow and low. Why, you might ask. Because it was just that good. It lasted too long, and kept getting better and better, the more it was used. Not something that Kodak or Ansco wanted for their products. So, the turn around on Harvey 777, was a very slow one.

Harold L. Harvey past away January 1971. His estate went up for sale the following year.

In my search on the life of Harold L. Harvey, I have discovered many aspics of his character. But it was and is all second hand information. Many of Harold's friends (like himself) are dead, or too old to remember much of the information that I am looking for. Even my trip to Newton, New Jersey produced little,  since most the people that worked for him are also dead or have moved away. I even talked to old timers that remembered Harold and his dear photographer friend "Weegee", of the Naked City fame.

Harvey would go on to develop many different film developing formulas, those before and those after he sold his 777 formula to Defender. And they are all out there, with as many different titles and names as one could imagine. I have four of those formulas, of which three are on my blog. The problem is that Harold (during his time in New York City) would stop at one of his favorite "hot dog" or eating spots in New York, and would write down one of his formulas on any form of paper. And hand it over to a friend or associate. And that would be the end of that.

The posted Fourth formula that I obtained as being one of Harvey's..., this one does not follow the same lines as those posted earlier. I tested this formula and the results were surprisingly very good. I have seen many formulas of this type. But I am posting it for anyone who desires to give it a try.

As I stated before, I recommend that you have some skills in the art of photographic chemistry, before you attempt to make and use this formula. And also, that you fully understand the use and handling of chemicals and film developers. And that you employ all chemical handling and safety rules.

I post no development times per say, and all responsibilities rest with the user. You must be 18 years or older to use these formulas and you accept all liabilities.

Part A
Water (125°F/52°C)
4-Aminophenol HCI
Sodium Sulfite (dessic)
Sodium Metaborate



Part B
Water (125°F/52°C)
Potassium Carbonate 



This will make one liter of working solution. You can use it over and over again, without dilution. This formula is for immediate use. You can mix this formula up dry and store it using containers that you fill to the brim, if you want to store the powders mixed together in two parts. To make a gallon of the solution, times 4 all materials. Do not increase the 4-Aminophenol Base, pass 2.5 grams per liter, it will be a waste of a good agent.

You can mix this up at home to make approx. a 1.2 gallon solution, yet you must make it up at a liter at a time. Place the dry chemicals in a large container, add the water using a tightly closed lid, and shake it for a half minute. Pour that into another container, and mix up the next batch. Once you have made four batches of Part A and Part B , combine the batches to form Part A, 3000 ml batch and Part B, 1 liter batch. When mixing Part A to obtain 3000 ml, use pure hot water and mix Part B to 1 liter, also using pure hot water, then combine the two. Do not use tap water, unless boiled and filtered; and allow it to cool below 80 degrees before use. Use without dilution.

I knew that sooner or later, my posted formulas, would be referred to as "concoctions". They are not concoctions. Panthermic 777, is a registered "trademark", it is not a registered invention; because the method used to make it, had already been patented prior to its development. There was no new or improved method in its development. Only DuPont, would go on to improve the formula, plus its method of manufacture, and discover (unlike Johnsons and Sons) it had reached its final development;  as far as investment is concerned. DuPont would later patent the process, which is the blending of plug-in  additional chemicals, that make Panthermic 777 special.

Remember..., Chlorohydroquinone, nor does Hydroquinone enjoy cold baths. So how much do you use or do not use? Because Panthermic 773 will give you a different look, than Panthermic 779. And they are all still out there. Still chillin and waiting to be found.

You are not going to find Harvey's formulas in publish books or even in archives. You are only going to find them if you go to a yard sale, estate sale, or free style picking. Harvey's notes, writings, and company archives, could now be in someone's barn, abandon warehouse, basement, home, or garage,  and no one really knows what they are, or even if they are of any value. They could just be sitting there, waiting for someone to pick them up.

So, if you are out yard sale/garage sale shopping/hunting, take a minute to look through the loose papers and books that is there. You might just find something.

I would like to thank Donald Cardwell, for his assistance, in providing me with additional
material, to put all the information that I have on file together. I have so much information, that it gets lost, and one only need to have a small reminder of one fact, to complete the work. And Donald gave me that reminder, plus the posted article. And I rushed to my papers, files, notes, and articles, and put this together.

Thank You


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