Time-O-Lite


Before computers, my father was a photographer and he developed his own photographs in a dark room. He used the Time-O-Lite to time the exposure of a negative onto photo sensitive paper. The image wouldn’t be visible until the paper was bathed in developer chemicals. It was magical.

There was a time when shortening “of” to “o” was popular for product names

I was of course, not allowed to play with the instruments in the dark room. So I was very careful when I did.

When you do an exposure there cannot be stray light so the timer is luminescent to be visible in the dark.

On the side are outlets for a safelight (usually red) and an enlarger (used to expose the negative to the photo sensitive paper). You could control the enlarger and the safelight with the timer for precision.

Enlarger because it was used to increase the size of the image to the size of the paper – 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″

It is amazing that this complex analog process was completely replaced by digital photography. My father embraced the change. He bought a digital camera and I showed him how to use photoshop. He never looked back.

The sound and feeling of the way the red needle returns is still satisfying almost 50 years later

I listed this on facebook marketplace at $20 for about a month and then added it to a box of stuff I was taking to the municipal Eco-centre. Not an hour after I returned home I received an inquiry from someone who was ready to pick it up immediately. They were so disappointed. Even scolding, telling me “darkrooms are still a thing, you know!” I described the exact bin I’d put it in and they said they would go the next day to see if it was salvageable.


2 responses to “Time-O-Lite”

  1. Loving the format of these little memories of objects. My mum recently moved from her home to a retirement residence. What to do with her things? I kept a few but I’m still not sure what to do with them.

    • Hi Christine! Thank you for writing! I’m going to make a little mobile out of interesting objects I sifted out of my dad’s shop after he died. We’ll see how that goes. It will be posted here eventually. xo d. precious 🙂

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