Reader Chris Lucianu points out another pertinent news item from photoscala.de. Last Friday, insolvency proceedings were initiated against the assets of JOBO AG and JOBO Labortechnik GmbH, of Gummersbach, in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany. JOBO made a wide range of darkroom devices, mainly color paper and film processors.
I haven't used a JOBO in many years, but the paper processors were a staple of home color printers, photo schools, and low-volume custom darkrooms. The devices were fairly Rube-Goldbergian, and not entirely in a good way—at the Corcoran, for example, where I did my brief turn as lab manager, the poxy magnets were forever falling off of the tubes, and there seemed to be no technology known to humankind that would stick them back on more than temporarily. This problem was reportedly later fixed.
JOBOs with Expert drums also made very good sheet film processors for either color or black-and-white.
The processors did a good job, but they weren't fun to use. They were basically glorified tanks of temperature-controlled water, and the rooms in which they resided were typically warm, humid, and usually more than a little smelly. To use one, what you did mainly was...wait.
JOBO was founded in 1923 and was a third-generation-owned family business.
By the way, if you're one of the those digital natives who think it's quaint how we're always going on about antediluvian technologies and their gradual expiry, I hope you're looking into the future too, because this is a constant—when I was a kid there were older guys who'd go on and on about how they did things in the old days (for one thing, photo papers were always better in the old days—now, then, and forever), and some day you'll be hearing about the last inkjet printer or the last digital camera with a reflex mirror being discontinued or whatever, and you'll be going on about how you remember when a million pixels was such a big deal it needed a new word, and the kids then will roll their eyes. Plus ça change....
(Thanks to Chris)