In the 1940s, men and women had been pushing the technical limits of photography ever since the medium was born, well over a century before — but no one , it seems, had ever bothered to devote the energy, time and money it would take to devise a method for Printing pictures directly on to fabric. Two New York-based companies were out to change that grave dereliction: by 1947, the “photographic fabrics [were] being produced in quantity by two new and rival processes.”
Both methods depend on a series of secret chemicals and dyes with which fabric is impregnated to make it light-sensitive. In the Foto-Fab process used by Leize, Inc. of New York a light shining through a negative film makes a positive print on cloth. In the Photone process of Ross-Smith Corp., also of New York, a positive film is used.
For the textile-printing industry photographic fabrics are the big news of the year. Although now limited to a group of restrained monotones, both pioneering companies are working to develop techniques that will give them full-color photographs on fabric and an opportunity to compete vigorously with traditional methods of printing fabric.
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