HC 110 to the rescue.

Grandpa Ron

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I had recently restored a 1950's vintage Kodak contact printer box. I decided to run of a couple of 4x5 prints.

I commandeered the bathroom, set every thing up, mixed up the chemicals, only to find the my "new" bottle of developer had turned dark brown and was exhausted. In truth, it had been setting quite a while.

Sort of dead in the water, I did a quick search of the web and discovered HC 110 dilution B, 31:1 worked quite well.

I do not do enough darkroom photos to comment on the nuances of different developers, but it certainly gave me several useable contact prints.
 
When you say "the my "new" bottle of developer" do you refer to the HC110 sold before 2018-2019 before Kodak changed the formula? If yes, it doesn't matter that it is brown, it is still as potent as day one. I am using the same bottle i opened in 2011. If it is the new formula then it is sad to hear that the new HC110 doesn't have the long self-life of the original formula.

Anyway HC110 is not designed to be a paper developer. You'll probably need a lot of trial and error to make it work.
 
Poor wording on my part.

I had a bottle of paper developer, Arista I believe. the bottle was full and the cap was on. However, I do not do much photo paper developing so I am sure it was on the shelf at least 6 or 8 months. However it was full and unopened.

I develop a lot of 4x5 film so I use HC-110, because at 31:1 you can get a lot of film developed. I have never had a problem with HC-110 self life.

With everything in place and ready to go. I opened the paper developer and it came out the color of chocolate.

So, I searched the web and found that a few folks had used HC-110 and a few others have use Rodinal. I am sure this was not their first choice, but some folks like to tinker.

In my case I was testing a old Kodak contact photo making box. It uses a bulb for the light source and the light is not evenly distributed across the film plane.
 

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