Daguerreian Society

On this day (February 14) in the year 1852, the following item appeared 
in the "Boston Daily Evening Transcript:
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  A daguerreotypist in Charleston Mr Carvalho, has discovered a mode of 
covering the daguerreotypes with a transparent enamel surface, whereby 
he dispenses with the glass cover to protect the picture.  Rubbing the 
plate, instead of injuring, improves the picture. Such pictures may be 
sent any distance without injury.

(More about Carvalho's "enameled" daguerreotypes can be found in the 
DagNews archive on the Society's web site in the file:  )
* * * * * * * 
and in the February 1906 issue of "Photo-Era" (Vol 16):


   Four years ago, on Aug. 7, 1902, there died at Crawford, N.H., 
whither he had gone for rest, Josiah Johnson Hawes of Boston, the 
oldest living professional photographer in the world.  He was ninety-
four years old, and did his own posing, developing, and printing until 
the last.  He had been associated with the process of Daguerre from the 
time of its introduction into America in 1840.  He built the first 
photographic studio with a skylight ever erected in this country.  He 
sat at the cradle of photography and helped to rock it into life.  He 
saw photography developed from modest beginnings into a popular 
science, then into a world-embracing industry, and finally its 
recognition as a fine art.  He was part of this wonderful growth and 
development for sixty years -- an experience that seldom falls to the 
lot of man.
   We have recently been favored with some Mss. copy from an 
autobiography which we reproduce here through the courtesy of Dr. E. S. 
Hawes of the Brooklyn, N. Y., Polytechnic School.
   "I was born February twentieth, 1808, in the town of East Sudbury, 
Mass. (now called Wayland).  Seventeen years of my early life were 
spent on a farm.  I was then apprenticed to a carpenter, and learned 
the carpenter's business, until I was twenty-one, and spent two years 
as a journeyman carpenter.
  "Happening one day to come across an ordinary oil painting which I 
was admiring, a friend of mine asked me to close one eye and look at 
the picture through my hand with the other eye.  The surprising change 
which took place, from its being an ordinary flat canvas to a realistic 
copy of nature with all its aerial perspective and beauty, so affected 
me, that from that time I was ambitious to become an artist.  I 
purchased books, colors, and brushes, and commenced the study of art.
   "I practiced miniature painting on ivory, likewise portraits in oil, 
landscapes, etc., with no teacher but my books.
   "About this time -- 1840 -- the excitement of the discovery of the 
daguerreotype took place; and some specimens of it which I saw in 
Boston changed my course entirely.  I gave up painting and commenced 
daguerreotyping in 1841.
   "My partner, the late Mr. Albert S. Southworth, and myself built a 
studio and carried on the business in Boston for the next twenty years.  
We had the reputation of making as fine daguerreotypes as were made by 
anybody.  Some of them were very large ones -- 20 x 24 -- probably the 
largest ever made on silver plates.
   "From 1841 to 1854 we made daguerreotypes only.  After that the 
daguerreotype was given up for the photograph.
   "As I was one of the first in the business, I had the whole field 
before me.  In the early period of the art, all daguerreotypes of 
buildings taken from the ground were smaller at the top than at the 
bottom, the lines sloping inwards.  In order to correct this, I made a 
camera with the holder for the ground glass and the plate frame 
suspended from a universal joint which could be set at any angle 
sufficient to correct the lines.  This camera my partner and I used for 
ten years before any one else could make a picture with the lines of 
architecture parallel.  This camera also had a holder made at the same 
time, the same as is now called the curtain holder (a device which has 
since been patented).  The somewhat celebrated combination of lenses 
called the Dallmeyer lens, I made and used fifteen years before it was 
known under its present name.  It was used for copying Washington 
Allston's sketches on copper plates sufficiently silvered and the 
paintings of Gilbert Stuart.  These plates were then engraved by John 
Cheney, following the lines of the daguerreotype.
   "I think I made the first stereoscopic picture made in America.  I 
am sure it was the first made in Boston.
   "My partner and I received the gold medal of the Massachusetts 
Charitable Mechanics Association for a reflecting stereoscope.  We 
likewise procured patents in this country and in Europe for a method of 
making stereoscopic pictures by two movements, lateral and 
perpendicular, which was thought to be an improvement on a single 
movement.  Any one can test the idea for himself by looking at a 
landscape where there are many horizontal lines, by turning his head on 
one side so as to raise one eye a little above the other.  He will 
perceive the stereoscopic effect.
   "We were also the originators of the multiplying camera.
   "We had many celebrated men and women of the time as our customers, 
among them Daniel Webster, Rufus Choate, Governor Boutwell, Judge Shaw, 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jennie Lind, Kossuth, Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
Longfellow, Dickens, Channing, and in fact almost every Bostonian of 
note, as well as many foreign celebrities."
   In September, 1901, we wrote of Mr. Hawes as follows:--
   "The Photo Era is glad to pay this tribute to his worth here, 
because of the distinguished services he gave to the art of 
photography.  The generation of great men and women who knew him, 
profited by his knowledge and marveled at his art-beautiful, are passed 
and gone.  He was the last link in the long chain connecting the past 
and present of photography.  But his memory will live in the hearts of 
those who delight to make pictures and who honor the profession of 
which he was such a distinguished member."

Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       

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