History of the Paterson-Pavelle Process

Thanks to an e-mail (June 2005) from Dr.Richard Pavelle, President of Invent Resources Inc. at Lexington, Massachusetts (son of Leo Pavelle ~ see Frank Omilian's story), I have managed to piece together some of the history of the Paterson-Pavelle home colour printing system, distributed in the UK by R.F.Hunter from 1963.

Thanks to Les Dutfield (January 2007), the story extends
to the 1970s sale of Pavelle to the Italian Durst organisation.

Tests of the original Paterson-Pavelle home colour printing system
can be read here

Prior to the 1963 marketing 'tie-up' between Pavelle (UK) Ltd (née the Photo Chemical Co Ltd) and R F Hunter / Paterson, it seems the new Pavelle colour paper (manufactured using know-how from the Photo Chemical Co Ltd but produced by Pavelle in the USA) was being sold with processing chemicals via the Pakolor inventors, Photo Chemical Co Ltd, based in Church Road, Epsom. By 1960 the Photo Chemical Co Ltd had been purchased by the US Pavelle Corporation of White Plains, New York, and so Pavelle (UK) Ltd was founded.

Michael Talbert has found the advertisement shown here:

He says "An early advert for a Pavelle colour printing kit. It is believed the advert pre-dates the Paterson kit and it’s definitely not Pakolor. It’s taken from “Colour Photography for the Amateur”, by M.Lillington Hall, 1962, 3rd Edition. The advert probably dates from 1961 to 1962, in between the end of marketing the original Pakolor kits and the start of the Paterson-Pavelle kits distributed by R.F. Hunter. It may be exactly the same process as in the colour advertisement shown below (but it can't be known for certain)".

Perhaps the early take-up of this process by amateur darkroom workers was slower than expected and prompted Pavelle (UK) Ltd to approach R F Hunter to act as distributors and so provide a boost to the market penetration of their home colour print processing kit. Hence, by 1963, R F Hunter took on the marketing of the Pavelle kit, linking it with the well known and respected Paterson darkroom equipment & chemicals branding.


Paterson-Pavelle Introduction

The following text describes how Dr.Jacobson (Dr.Jacobsohn) and his Photo-Chemical Co Ltd were responsible for originating the Paterson-Pavelle home colour printing process which was marketed in the UK by R.F.Hunter (Paterson distributors) from 1963 (P-100 chemicals and paper) and by Johnsons of Hendon from 1967 (P-200 chemicals and paper).

Left is shown an early advertisement for the newly announced Paterson Color Print Kit, by the distributors R.F.Hunter, in Amateur Photographer magazine's 'Christmas Presents Number', dated 4th December 1963.

"NOW YOU can make professional quality colour enlargements from any colour negative film (e.g. Kodacolor, Agtacolor, etc.) as quickly and easily as black and white !
Incorporating the new PAVELLE PROCESS, invented and developed in Britain, the PATERSON COLOR PRINT KIT at last brings the making of colour enlargements within the reach of every amateur who can make a black and white print.
You need no special apparatus other than your existing enlarger and darkroom equipment. Everything necessary is included In the PATERSON COLOR PRINT KIT Including chemicals and 10 sheets of ½ plate enlarging paper. Extra paper up to 10x8 ins and chemicals available separately.
TRY THE NEW THRILL IN PHOTOGRAPHY - make a colour enlargement in your own darkroom tonlght !
Ask your dealer for the full colour PATERSON COLOR PRINT KIT leaflet which gives full details of this revolutionary new process - or send 3d (1p) in stamps to Sole Distributors: R.F.Hunter Ltd."

The kit was priced at £4.17s.6d (£4.88p) complete, including tax.


To view a processing table for Pavelle Paper,
scroll down or


The technical originator of the colour printing process that became known as Paterson-Pavelle was the same man, Dr.Jacobson, who originated the 1950s Pakolor home colour processing film and materials. Patents in the name of Kurt Jacobson are viewable at the European Patent Office website. There are 18 patents relating to colour film, colour printing paper, colour developing and colour printing technology over a (near) 20years span, though on two occasions there is also named Mr Keith Aston and on one occasion Mr Gerald Noel White. By the late 1960s, another co-inventor is Ralph Eric Jacobson, Kurt's son.

Kurt's son became Professor Ralph Jacobson, ASIS HonFRPS. He was President of the Royal Photographic Socity (RPS) from 2005-2007. Professor Jacobson has been in touch and has provided me with further historical information of his father's work, which I have transcribed into a web page accessible by clicking here.

Keith Aston is the named inventor of a number of colour printing patents throughout the 1960s while working for Pavelle Ltd and continued to patent ideas in the mid-1980s for Pavelle's new owners, Durst.

Martin Hadden, who worked for Ilford from 1970 to 2009, previously worked at Pavelle, in Epsom, on their colour paper. He says "I was responsible for all the photo testing of the product and I worked directly with Dr Kurt Jacobson and Dr Ralph Jacobson. I got to work directly with Leopold Godowsky for a couple of weeks when he was at Epsom evaluating the colour paper for the investors who funded the building of the Pavelle coating plant in Caldwell New Jersey, USA".

The Paterson Pavelle kits shown above and below are owned by Michael Talbert.

The earlier kit (above) uses the original P-100 chemicals and paper, and dates from around 1964. There is also a 1964 1st edition of the Felix Smith book describing the process (further about Felix Smith is shown lower down the page).

The kit shown below is complete, apart from chemicals and paper, and dates from around 1967. It used P-200 chemicals and paper. There are two prints made by Michael using this kit.

Information relating to Gerald White appears on the Open University website (born 1891, died 1963). Mr White was a chemist, a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry and, in his latter years, Director & Research Manager at Photo-Chemical Co Ltd and finally Research Director at Pavelle Ltd.

Kurt Jacobson began patenting his ideas on colour printing materials from 1953, this being the date of his earliest patent application, but his original research must have started many years earlier (possibly prior to WW2). Throughout much of the 1950s Mr Jacobson is named as Director of Photo-Chemical Co. Ltd, initially at Film House, Wardour Street, London, W.1; but later at Church Road, Epsom, Surrey.

The last Jacobson patent that names the Photo-Chemical Co Ltd is dated July 1957. The 1950s was when the Photo-Chemical Co.Ltd were manufacturing the Pakolor colour negative film and printing paper process, available in the UK from 1952 and made suitable for home processing from 1955.

Dr Richard Pavelle recalls how Kurt Jacobson made some breakthroughs in colour paper technology and, in consequence, became involved with Richard's father, Leo Pavelle, around 1957. Together they worked to develop a facility in New Jersey (at the US Pavelle Corporation) to produce the colour paper. There was also an intention to produce a machine enabling home colour printing, but that was for the future (see the footnote to this web page for more information about that project). One of Jacobson's patents, GB963603, applied for in December 1961 by Pavelle Ltd, describes a combined colour printing and processing machine). Pakolor had some experience of this, having bought out a semi-automatic rollhead colour printer for the photo-finishing trade by 1959.

The association of Kurt Jacobson of Photo-Chemical Co Ltd and Leo Pavelle of the Pavelle Corporation resulted in the Pavelle brothers (Leo and Simon) buying (?) the Photo-Chemical Co Ltd to secure Kurt Jacobson's expertise, and they set up a UK subsidiary, Pavelle Ltd, in Epsom, Surrey, being the same address as the previous Photo-Chemical Co.Ltd. This is believed to have occurred around 1960. Kurt Jacobson, Gerald White, Keith Aston and others, continued to work in the UK on manufacturing colour paper, processing chemicals and equipment and by December 1961 Kurt Jacobson is again filing patents, but he is now working for Pavelle Ltd, a British company at Church Road, Epsom, Surrey, UK. The Jacobson/Pavelle Ltd patents continue throughout the 1960s to early 1970. One patent, in 1968, names the Pavelle Corporation of White Plains, New York, where Kurt Jacobson is named as assignor of the invention (for speeding up colour material developing) to the Pavelle Corporation (US3372030).

There seems little reason to doubt that the above chronology of events charts the development of the Paterson-Pavelle home additive colour printing process, including the paper, chemicals and what seemingly became the simple but effective Pavelle-Theilgaard colour exposure calculator contained within the Paterson colour printing kit. This device would seem to have its roots in the Photo-Chemical Co Ltd patent GB748712, applied for in July 1953, with the complete specification being published in May 1956. Since Kurt Jacobson was (by then) a British citizen and Pavelle Ltd was a British company, Paterson's claims for their home colour processing kit being solely a British invention seems well founded, though assistance from the US Pavelle Corporation is inherent in their name being part of the Paterson-Pavelle process.

The Paterson home colour printing outfit was given fresh publicity from 1967 when Johnsons of Hendon took over the distribution from R.F.Hunter.

The January 1968 edition of 'Photography' magazine, in their 'News Desk' feature, proclaims the 'New' Paterson Colour Print Process, but this seems a late announcement for the same 'new' kit advertised at the same price in Amateur Photographer, April 1967, p70. There were claims for Paterson's improved Colour Paper (P-200) and its P-200 chemicals having increased processing capacity. A total processing time of 8minutes was claimed. Alongside is an advert from Amateur Photographer for 30th October 1968 where a new paper surface is announced, Art Stipple.

The 'new' kit cost £5.5s (£5.25p, though this increased to £6.1s.10d = £6.10p by autumn 1968) including 25 sheets of Paterson P-200 colour paper (post card size, but available in sizes to 15"x12" i.e. 38cm x 30.5cm). The kit included 1 litre of colour developer, stop bath & bleach fix, plus printing filters, filter holder, exposure calculator, safelight filter and instruction manual. Processing was claimed to take between 5 & 8 minutes at a temperature range between 65°F and 85°F (18°C to 29°C) using only three processing baths. It was claimed the chemical solutions could be safely stored for 'months'.

In 1962, Felix Smith authored the Focal Photo Guide booklet, "All about Printing Colour Negatives". It was priced at 2s/6d (12.5p). The picture of Felix, above, and his short biography, appear on the back cover of this booklet.

Felix Smith in 1956. He was keen on photography from the age of 6. Other interests included 16mm cine filming.

Another change when Johnsons became distributors was the inclusion, 'free', of the book by Felix Smith called "Making Pavelle Colour Prints with the Paterson Colour Print Kit", though by 1968 the name 'Pavelle' in the book title had disappeared.

This book had been available since 1964 (see advert alongside and also Michael Talbert's picture of his original Paterson-Pavelle kit, above) but was originally sold separately by R.F.Hunter at 10s/6d (52.5p).

Michael Talbert comments that "The last chapter is on making inter-negatives from colour transparencies - very advanced stuff! I wonder how many amateur photographers were making colour inter-negatives from their transparencies in 1964 ? Very few, I should imagine !"



Felix Smith, the book's author, (see his picture, left) wrote a regular feature article covering all technical aspects of colour photography in 'Photography' magazine during (at least) 1966 - 1968. It was called 'Felix Smith on Colour'.

Processing Procedure for Paterson Pavelle Colour Paper using the Paterson Colour Print Kit

The P-100 and P-200 processing procedures were identical. It is believed that the only difference was the chemical formulae.

The Paterson Colour Print Kits date from 1962 to 1968, with the Process P-200 chemical kits dating from 1966. By 1969 the kits had been withdrawn from the market, and at that time there were no equivalent kits for the amateur to expose and process colour prints in a “home” darkroom.

The following procedure was for dish processing, or for processing prints in the “Goodman” tank (perhaps the earliest amateur 'tank' processor for colour prints)

First three steps to be carried out in total darkness or under a “Pavelle” Safelight screen. The screen was a dark olive green colour.



Time (mins)

Temp (°F)


Colour Developer

(3 time options for 3 temperature levels)

4 - 5

65 - 70

Regular agitation standardised according to the individual's normal procedure.

2 - 3

72 - 80

1½ - 2

82 - 88

Stop Bath


65 - 88


Bleach Fix


65 - 88

Remaining steps can be done in normal room lighting


(2 time & temperature options)


65 or higher

Running water


64 or lower

Dry, not above 120°F


  1. There was no Anti – Fade or Stabilizer solution, but the instructions for the P-200 kit mention that prints could be given extra hardening if it was required to dry, glaze, or mount them by heat.
    After the wash step, the prints are given a 30 second immersion in a 10% Formalin solution and then washed for 2 minutes in running water.
  2. Once the temperature for the Colour Developer was chosen, that temperature should be kept within at least 1°F for the time of the development to achieve consistent results. When the author used the Paterson Print kit he made all his prints using a time of 2½ minutes at 75°F +/– 1°F.
  3. For best results it was recommended to use only as much of the three solutions as required and discard them after use (One shot processing).
  4. Only two solutions were included in the initial Paterson-Pavelle Colour Print kits, the Developer and Bleach Fix. The user had to provide his own Stop Bath, or use a less efficient water rinse between the two solutions. The kit illustrated in the colour advertisement at the top of this page is one of the early two bath kits, but the Paterson kit shown immediately below is a three bath kit.

The Paterson Pavelle Basic Filter
When making prints from masked colour negatives i.e. Kodacolor X, Ektacolor, Ilfocolor and other films, it was necessary to place the “Basic Filter” on top of the negative or under or between the condensers of the enlarger. This filter was not required when printing from unmasked colour negatives, such as Agfacolor CN 17 or Orwo. It is not clear whether this filter was a heat absorbing filter or if it was necessary to correct the colour balance of the printing paper. The colour of the filter was greenish cyan.

It is thought most likely that the filter was used to correct for an otherwise heavy cyan/green cast when printing from masked negatives onto a paper balanced for unmasked colour negatives (the same would apply with Agfacolor CN III colour paper). The heavy cyan/green cast would be caused by the orange/red mask of a Kodacolor X, Ektacolor, or similar masked colour negative.

When comparing the Basic Filter against various Kodak Colour Printing filters, in the “CP” series, a direct match could not be found, but an approximate match was 15 Yellow and 60 Cyan, made up of the Kodak Colour Printing filters 5 Yellow and 10 Yellow, plus 10 Cyan and 50 Cyan (15 – 60).


An editorial entitled 'Colour Prints', written by Joan Wickes, FIBP, FRPS, FRSA in the July 1962 edition of 'Good Photography'.

Editor's Notebook; Colour Prints
BECAUSE OF PRESENT-DAY COMPLICATIONS in colour printing, many camera users who would like to do their own colour prints have either to keep just to transparencies or to be content with laboratory-produced "automated" prints which, although of a reasonable average standard, do not satisfy all tastes-to produce prints at an economical price, there are limits! Although a few complaints about commercially-produced prints are justified, in many cases the sub-standard results are due to the customer, perhaps because of incorrect exposure, bad storage before or after exposure, far too wide a subject contrast range, fogging through carelessness, etc.

We have had news from the Pavelle Corporation in the U.S.A., of an automatic table model colour printer which can be used in daylight and produce a colour print in five minutes from the time of insertion of a colour negative. The P-100 Daylight Color Printer-Processor accepts colour negatives from 35mm. to 2¼ inch square, and by a built-in optical and masking system, a print either 2½ x 3½ or 3½ inches square is produced, it being possible also to enlarge a portion of the largest size negatives if required. A row of press-buttons at the side of the machine controls the filtration and exposure given each time. The filtration is worked out by a simple (in use) zeroing system, this and the exposure taking about two minutes, with a further three minutes for the actual processing cycle within the body of the P-100. When the print emerges, it just has to be washed for from 2-8 minutes and then dried. Finish!

All this is possible because of the printing paper used, which has been worked out by two British scientists, Dr.K.I.Jacobson (known here in connection with Pakolor and its simple processing), and Dr.E.M.White (this might be a mis-print and may refer to Gerald White - see above).

It is possible to use the Pavelle P-100 for processing only, using pre-exposed paper (from a conventional enlarger) and the use of this new paper in larger sizes in a normal darkroom sounds a predictable and attractive possibility for the near future. Full production of this new Printer Processor is expected in the USA before the end of the year, but we have so far no news of it being available here. July 1962.

Then, in October 1962, in the Photo-Digest pages of PhotoGuide Magazine:

The Pavelle P-100 colour printer recently introduced in America yields finished colour enlargements from colour negatives within three minutes. It works in normal daylight, and is an extensively automated exposing and processing system. This was developed partly in America, and partly (the special colour paper and processing solutions) in England. The printer takes negatives from 24 x 36 mm up to 2¼ X 2¼ inches, and yields 2½ x 3½ or 3½ x 3½ inch prints. The printing side consists of a fixed-focus enlarger with three lenses for the different magnification ratios. A photoflood lamp provides the illumination, which is filtered by a pair of variable filters to adjust the colour balance of the print. A built-in photo-electric cell system measures the light transmission and automatically determines the correct filtration for a properly balanced print. It is then only necessary to expose for the indicated time.
The printer takes a special colour paper in 9 foot rolls, 3½ inches wide. The unit feeds the paper into the focal plane of the enlarger, cuts off the exposed print, and passes it through the processing section, with the aid of motorized rollers. Processing takes place in a light-tight compartment containing a colour developer and a bleach-fix bath. The finished print emerges three minutes later, and only needs a short wash to make it permanent. The developer and bleach-fix baths are replaced after every dozen or so 3½ x 3½ inch prints. This only involves pulling out the plastic processing compartment and recharging with fresh solution.

This page last modified: 21st December 2016