Oh Maris, you have brought memories of flat press prints flooding back. All made worse by the use of Kodabromide.
It wasn't just the print end of things either. As a lad starting out in commercial studios I recall the regular visits by the Kodak rep, Darbey Price who would have nothing of densitometers, his rule of thumb was that you had to be able to read the newspaper through even the densest parts of a negative laid on a benchtop (not a light box) to determine the perfect negative.
Fortunately the proprietor of the studio I was working as a runner in and his 'Printer' would have none of that and the studio exclusively used a German paper called Leonar which was lush and richly toned. My personal preference was Gevaert which soon became a part of Agfa. Their Portriga Rapid and Record Rapid were just stunning creamy chloro-bromides in a strange range of contrast grades that rendered prints that simply sang like Pavarotti. The first bit of rot to drift in was the advent of Ilfobrom when they changed from yellow to white packaging. And, of course, the herald of the end that was to come was first the introduction of variable contrast and then the wretched Resin Coated. Ilford was entirely obsessed with volume throughput for the likes of newspapers and the 'Bromide Service' labs. But, out of the blue, they expanded their vision (no pun intended, when they came out with graded Galerie.
In the 1990s Kodak engaged me to produce sample prints off my own shots on what might have been the very best paper I ever used. It was a silver rich graded paper to replace their classic portrait paper, the name of which I can't recall. It was fibre based and a tad heavier than double weight and prints were delicious enough to eat. Sadly, it never saw the light of day on the market — not even in the Excited States were it was aimed.
"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi