Daguerreian Society

On this day (August 17) in the year 1853, the following "Circular" was 
addressed for delivery.  The front of the folded sheet bears the written 
inscription, "S. D. Humphrey  /  N. York, Aug. 17/53  /  Daguerreotype--
Circular."  The printed address states "TO ANY DAGUERREIAN ARTIST."  The 
following is the contents of the circular:
- - - - - - - - - - - -

               To the Daguerreotype Public.
                                              New York, August, 1853

         I desire to call your especial attention to a work upon a 
subject in which you are, in common with all lovers of the Daguerreotype 
art, interested.  I am now ready to furnish a work giving all the 
available recipes now used in our art;  among them will be found rare and 
valuable instructions--instructions not before published.  It is well 
known to you that the operators in America have been greatly imposed upon 
by persons who, with great pretensions, insist they have something new, 
and not unfrequently impose upon the inexperienced by selling them a 
recipe for some chemical or other process, well known by those operators 
who live in or close to our large city.  My object now is to prevent this 
course of deception, and place before the daguerreotype public a Text 
Book which shall serve as an effectual guard and be a matter of money-
     It is useless for me to speak farther to you upon this subject, for 
by presenting the following list of recipes you cannot but appreciate the 
great utility and value of such a work.
     The following recipes are given:

[In the original, the following list is given in three equal columns each 
separated by a wavy line]

Most approved gilding Solution.
Preparation of Rotten Stone.
Preparation of Rouge.
Bromine Water.
Solution for removing the coating.
Agent for absorbing the vapor of Bromine and Iodine.
Chloride of Bromine.
Bromide of Lime Pure.
M. Soliel's process for determining the time of
   exposure in the camera.
To make Daguerreotype Plates.
Cyanide of Mercury.
Acidulated Solution.
Why Rouge is liked.
Mixtures for coating the Plate over only one box.
Solution of Chlorate of Potash.
Two pictures of one person on one Plate.
Electrotyping Daguerreotypes.
Transparent Background.
Removing black speck on Daguerreotypes.
Instantaneous Process.
Chlorine used as an Accelerating Agent.
Accelerating Substances.
Copying Engravings.

    [second column]

Arrangement of Lenses.
Chloride of Iodine--its use.
Iodide of Potassium.
Cold Gilding.
Etching Daguerreotype Plates.
Cyanide of Potassium.
Murate of Ammonia.
Bromide of Silver.
Daguerreotypes by Artificial Light.
Hydrobromic Acid.
   This is now being sold for from $5 to $50,
   and has never been published.
Colored Rings on the Daguerreotype Plate.
Process for producing natural colors.
Interesting experiments with Bromine.
Re-producing a picture after the plate is supposed
   to be thoroughly cleaned.
Enameled Daguerreotypes.
Iodide of Lime.
To cleanse Buckskins.
Hyposulphite of Soda.
Iodide of Mercury.
Daguerreotypes without Mercury.

    [third column]

New combination for Dry Quick, never before published.
Chlorobromide of Lime.
Bromo-Iodide of Lime.
Engraving Daguerreotypes.
Black Polish.
Potassium Solution.
Bleaching Solution for taking the blue out of Linen, &c.
Various mixtures of Quick Stuff, among which
   are many valuable recipes.  The old original
   VAN LOAN QUICK, furnished to me by the discoverer
   and never published by any other person.
Chloride of Calcium.
Chloride of Gold.
Chloride of Silver.
Solution for removing spots or scum from the
   Daguerreotype impression.
Cleaning Mercury.
Floride of Bromine.
Reflectors for taking views.
A new way to work Bromine in hot weather.
   This has been kept a secret, and cost more
   than four time the amount charged for this book.
Liquid for increasing the brilliancy of Daguerreotypes.

[end of the three-column text]

       The foregoing comprise only a portion of recipes given, and no one 
can for a moment doubt the great value and convenience of such a hand-
book.  There is not an operator in the world who cannot save four times 
the price of this work by a faithful perusal of its pages.
       Price, Two Dollars per copy.  Will be sent to subscribers by mail, 
postage paid.
       Persons at a distance are informed that Post Office stamps would 
be preferable to notes on distant banks.
                           Address, (post-paid.)
                                    S. D. HUMPRHEY,
                                            NEW YORK CITY,
                                                      New York

A few notes from Gary:
  This advertised "hand-book" was published as "American Hand Book of the 
Daguerreotype: giving the Most Approved and Convenient Methods for 
Preparing the Chemicals, and the Combinations Used in the Art.  
Containing the Daguerreotype, Electrotype, and Various other Processes 
Employed in Taking Heliographic Impressions." (New York: S. D. Humphrey)
(My copy is the 1973 Arno reprint of the Fifth Edition - 1858)

The title is available in PDF format (although lacking the illustrations; 
also incorrectly identified on the web page as "Humphreys Daguerreian
Journal") from the "reference" page at:

The title is also available from Greg Walker at:
(Available as ASCII text or in RTF; illustrations are available in gif 
format in a ZIP archive. The advantage of these formats is that, with any 
good word-processing program, it is word-searchable.)

Cited from an original circular in the collection of Matthew R. Isenburg, 
Hadlyme CT.
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1997

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