In the early 90's, Forte Photochemical (from Vac, in Hungary) developed a wonderful Fibre-based photo paper with a warm image tone and medium speed.
Because of its natural warm image tone (which used no dyes), ultrafine silver halide crystals (leading to crisp and brilliant images), its wonderful lith-ability, and its excellent response to various toners, the paper soon became world famous under the name Forte Polywarmtone and Fortezo Museum (the fixed grade version).
The paper was also private-labeled by various other vendors such as Bergger (Variable CB), ADOX (Polywarmtone) and Moersch (VC Select).
In the beginning of 2004, Forte began struggling with economic difficulties. As the world photographic market crashed with up to 50% losses per quarter, the company (which was strongly controlled by the worker's union) was unable to dismiss enough people to stay afloat. Under these market conditions, not even the best photo papers were able to support all employees, and Forte went into chapter 11.
Forte´s key customers stepped in to help save the paper, giving preorders and prepayment to re-initiate paper production with less staff. But the liquidator sold the company to a new owner - a construction company - who operated it under the name Forteinvest ltd. The Forte factory is built on a large and valuable property in a prosperous community, and the intention of the new owner was clear: to tear down the production facility and cash in on the lot. After only two years, production was stopped again.
Shortly after the final coating was announced, a run occured on the remaining boxes of Forte papers. Two further attempts were undertaken to save the beloved Polywarmtone paper. The first attempt was by a former competitor of Forte´s, who wanted to broaden his range of products. The other one was a former private-label customer. The first one failed with his attempts because he was himself taken over shortly thereafter. When the second would-be purchaser added up all the costs involved in producing a totally new product in the manufacturing facility where he wanted to have it made, he realized it would simply be too expensive. On top of that, it seemed almost impossible to transfer Forte's recipes to the technology used in this manufacturing plant, so he would have had to pay for an entire new reformulation (which seems today as impossible as it probably was back then). Therefore, he instead asked the manufacturer to create a new warmtone paper for him based on the existing technology.
At this point the end of Polywarmtone seemed to have truly come.
Forte had already started to dismantel their production facilities, and all technology contained was about to be scrapped.
ADOX had been in discussions with Forte about the paper technology, but could not convince the owners to accept its proposals.
Aside from the risk posed by the two competitors, ADOX felt that it was not a good idea to offer cash for the technology itself (because the risks of succesfuly transferring it seemed to high). Rather, ADOX offered a long term royalty for every square meter of paper produced.
According to the people who originally invented Polywarmtone, it is impossible to make a clone of this paper in any other then the original emulsion replicator without spending thousands of research hours.
ADOX was so unhappy about the idea that this knowledge could simply disappear from the planet, that ADOX actually purchased the replicator in 2007 and saved it from scrapping - without being certain if the necessary recipes could ever even be acquired.
Later on, the last attempt to make the paper in another factory failed, and ADOX was finally successful with its proposal to Forte.
What needs to happen now
In order to bring Polywarmtone back to life we need to have security about the potential demand out there.
We know you want the paper back, and we are ready to go on the adventure with you.Register on the Polywarmtone website
and tell us how much paper you are willing to purchase from the first production.
The price will reflect the circumstances, but it will not exceed the price of comparable premium-quality paper manufactured by other companies.
ADOX Fotowerke GmbH, Berlin
Additional informations about Polywarmtone:Image Gallery of Polywarmtone images