Several vertical daylight-loading tanks were made in addition to those made by Fischer in Austria that I noted in my post of 22 October.
I came across this daylight-loading 35 mm developing tank while looking for something else. This announcement from Amateur Photographer of 25th August 1954 appeared under the Talking Shop heading:
LABOX DAYLIGHT LOADING 35 mm TANK. This new tank is of particularly ingenious design, since it measures only approximately 4in in diameter and is just over 2in deep, the capacity being 7 oz (200 c.c.) of solution, yet it provides for daylight loading of a film direct from the cassette. Made in black plastic mouldings, the tank is in four parts: the main body having one spiral groove at the bottom and a centre receptacle to take the cassette; the lid, which includes on its under-side the top spiral; a pouring funnel; and a flexible plastic star light trap which pushes into the funnel. With the lid removed the cassette of film, from which the shaped end has been removed and the film at its full width extracted by about 2in, is placed in the central aperture with the film threaded through a slit so as to enter the tank proper. The lid is then placed in position and rotated to and fro to enable metal teeth in the top and bottom spirals to drive the film into the tank. This must be done with the funnel in position to provide sufficient light-tightness.
When the film is completely loaded into the spiral the funnel is removed and replaced quickly with the star light trap, or alternatively the opening in the tank top can be almost completely covered with the hand, and a metal cutting knife is inserted down the mouth of the cassette to sever the film. The cassette is then tipped out and the funnel quickly replaced. The film can then be processed in the normal way, agitation being given to the film by inverting the tank periodically during development taking care to cover the pouring spout and funnel with the hands; the lid must not be rotated to provide agitation since this of course will continue to force the film into the spiral and may result in damage to it. The Labox tank is sold complete with cutting knife and a thermometer in a protective plastic shield. The price is £2 17s 6d. J. J. Silber Ltd., 51/52, Avenue Chambers, Vernon Place, W.C.1. [The UK Agents]
Reading this announcement does not instil me with confidence. It does not come over as particularly light-tight if things have to be done quickly or by covering with the hand!
I have been unable to find any other information, not even the name of the manufacturer, other than that one sold on the Australian eBay site in February 2013 for the equivalent in Australian dollars of GBP 6.23.
The Labox seems to be very similar in principle to the Jobo Automat 35 which continued to be made in various forms for many years, the Jobo 2400 for example.
The Jobo Automat 35 appeared in the 1954 edition of BJPA:
Most daylight loading developing tanks work by the provision of a compartment outside the spiral reel from which the film in its cassette or spool is fed. This Jobo tank is novel in that the compartment which holds the cassette of exposed film is contained within the centre column of the spiral reel. The two halves of the spiral are separable and the cassette in a small chamber is placed between them; the leading end of the film is then made fast to a clip after threading through a sprocket which engages with the perforations. The spiral reel is then placed in the tank and the lid put on and locked. Rotation of the spiral from the outside then draws the film from the cassette since the sprocket is driven by engagement with a circular rack in the base of the tank and the clip which holds the end of the film is held stationary by a set of cams also moulded on the interior of the tank.
If it is not desired to develop the whole 36 exposure length of film the approximate number of exposures wound into the spiral can be counted and this length cut off. The cutting is performed automatically whether the whole length of film is developed or not, by a cylindrical knife in the centre column which is moved downward through the film by the action of sealing off the cassette chamber.
Aside from the convenience of being able to develop films without the need for a darkroom for tank loading, a tank such as this does mean that the film is untouched from the time it is packed at the factory until it is removed from the tank for drying. This can only be of help in keeping the films free from fingermarks, abrasions and dust, all of which are serious bugbears to the 35-mm. user.
The Jobo 35 Automat is beautifully made, the black plastic mouldings are accurate and intricate and the design is most ingenious. Filling and emptying the tank is reasonably rapid by virtue of the large space round the centre pillar and the large pouring lip. The price of this useful tank is £4 0s.. Od.
The Jobo 2400 appears most frequently for sale (it is no longer manufactured according to the Jobo website). There is a video (with a commentary in Hungarian) which shows very well how this tank works at:
Instructions, in several languages, can be found at:
Finally in this post, eBay has at the moment an Eastman Kodak Day-Load tank, again 35 mm, loading from the side like the Superkino from Austria (see post of 22 October 2013). I see the instructions for this tank are listed on Amazon, dated 1961.
It is difficult without having used any of these tanks to form an opinion on their reliability of ease of use. Many internet fora are utterly useless because one man said he could not get the Kodak Day-Load to work, only to admit he had not read the instructions when he tried. Only the Jobo seems to have a following of regular users in this category of vertical 35 mm daylight-loading tank.
There is no doubt that a number of inventors and manufacturers followed Agfa into the daylight-loading market. None seems to have lasted long with the exception of Jobo.
If I actually used 35 mm film and did not have a Rondix (my first choice for black-and-white) or a Rondinax, I would be tempted by the Jobo.