Dead Cat Bounce: Tetenal

In 2018, Tetenal failed causing the photo-world to shimmy and shake. Was this the end, or just a climax in a potboiler.

Tetenal came back only to fail again in 2023. This is the way at the end of life. The crash is never complete; until there is no where else to fall.

Chemistry is the profit of the chemical photography business. Emulsions are there so that chemicals will be bought, used, and replaced. Cameras are there for the lenses and films, etc. No chemical means no chemical darkroom; means no paper. The way is clear. It is just lost in the fog of romantic versions of truth. Few want to admit they are on a dead horse; fewer will put that horse down.

This is not a work-horse, it is only a hobby-horse, as such it will not last. Farriers live because horses don’t have to be made, they do the work themselves, unlike emulsions and XTOL.

Reportedly, Tetenal spent about €500,000 (~$574,000) to acquire the license to produce CD3 and CD4 color developers — and apparently they split the bill with Fuji to save money. That is one of the reasons why Unicolor chemistry, for example, is not available in the E.U. No small company or startup could afford such certification and thus Tetenal is the only manufacturer of CD3 and CD4 within the European Union.

<< from 2018 report of Tetenal’s death.

Kodak relied upon Tetenal for Xtol, HC-110, and ECN chemicals.

Why the company failed with full orders, even backorders… the hopeful thought it would be brought back to life, since there is so much vigor in the “recovering analog community” — like alcoholics giving each other bad advice over bad coffee.

It failed again because there aren’t enough multiples of profit in each sale, and there aren’t sufficient sales to maintain a fully managed industry. Gas stations on the interstate make more money in a quarter than Kodak+Ilford make in a year. Fujifilm is the only company that is built upon a large profit foundation; that is from other sectors of its well managed organization.

Adox is claiming, hoping with that claim, that their ability to maintain chemical making will sustain them. This as they also seem to regularly acknowledge that there is little profit in BW paper. Profits from their chemistry funds their research and development of other product lines (assuming color film).

The arc has been clear for more than a decade: people use roll film intending to scan it. Some are beginning to see the other way.

— If I need a camera for film AND a digital camera to scan that film…. why don’t I skip the mechanical/chemical step, going directly to the digital camera?

Might just be bragging rights. Some claim to life-forces unseen. Anyway, people continue to pray for anther Dead Cat Raising.