The Daguerreian Society


 Three items today; a correction, an advertisement and a technical 
article... 
 
In my post of October 22, ("The Daguerreotype has been introduced into 
the Sandwich Islands..."--Daily Republican) I accidently omitted the 
year of the publication. The notice was from the October 22, 1845 
issue.

On this day (October 25) in the year 1852, the following appeared in the 
"Boston Daily Evening Transcript":
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

CITY AMUSEMENTS...BUSINESS...NOTICES 
  MONDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 25, 1852 
  Southworth & Hawes' Daguerreotype Fair and Exhibition of their Grand 
Parlor and Gallery Stereoscope, 5 
1/2 Tremont Row. 
-------------------------------------------------- 
  MR. WHIPPLE, with his usual success, has obtained decidedly the best 
likeness of the Democratic nominee, Gen. Pierce, that has yet been made.  
So say his friends.  The Yankee Blade thus justly remarks of 
Mr. W.'s skill in his favorite art: 
    The daguerreotypes taken by J. A. Whipple, 96 Washington street, can 
be recognized at a glance as possessing all those traits which stamp 
them as the production of a genius of no "common mould."  There is an 
exquisite taste displayed in the pictures, a knowledge of artistic 
effect, a depth of tone, a softness and beauty of finish, which makes 
his portraits and groups unrivalled.  More beautiful specimens of the 
art are no where to be found.  We would say to all our readers, if you 
want a life portrait and exquisite picture, visit the gallery of Mr. 
Whipple. 
 
- - - - - - - more..  
 
The following article appeared In the October 1840 issue of  "The 
American Journal of Science and Arts" (New Haven, Vol. XXXIX.): 
 
  9. Method of permanently fixing, Engraving, and Printing from 
Daguerreotype Pictures: by Dr. Berres, of Vienna. 
  The method of permanently fixing the Daguerreotype picture with a 
transparent metal coating, consists in the following process:-- 
  I take the pictures produced in the usual manner, by the Daguerreotype 
process, hold them for some minutes over a moderately-warmed nitric acid 
vapor, or steam, and then lay them in nitric acid of 13 degrees to 14 
degrees Reaumur, in which a considerable quantity of copper or silver, 
or both together, has been previously dissolved.  Shortly after being 
placed therein, a precipitate of metal is formed, and can now be changed 
to what degree of intensity I desire.  I then take the heliographic 
picture coated with metal, place it in water, clean it, dry it, polish 
it with chalk or magnesia, and a dry cloth or soft leather.  After this 
process, the coating will become clean, clear and transparent,(1) so 
that the picture can again be easily seen.  The greatest care and 
attention are required in preparing the Daguerreotype impression 
intended to be printed from.  The picture must be carefully freed from 
iodine, and prepared upon a plate of the most chemically pure silver. 
  That the production of this picture should be certain of succeeding, 
according to the experiments of M. Kratochwila, it is necessary to unite 
a silver with a copper plate; while upon other occasions, without being 
able to explain the reason, deep etchings or impressions are produced, 
without the assistance of the copper plate, upon pure silver plate. 
  The plate will now, upon the spot where the acid ought not to have 
dropped, be varnished;(2) then held for one or two minutes over a weak 
warm vapor or steam, of 25 degrees to 30 degrees (Reaumur) of nitric 
acid, and then a solution of gum arabic, of the consistence of honey, 
must be poured over it, and it must be placed in a horizontal position, 
with the impression uppermost, for some minutes.  Then place the plate, 
by means of a kind of double pincette, (whose ends are protected by a 
coating of asphalt or hard wood,) in nitric acid, at 12 degrees or 13 
degrees (Reaumur.)  Let the coating of gum slowly melt off or disappear, 
and commence now to add, though carefully and gradually, and at a 
distance from the picture, a solution of nitric acid, of from 25 degrees 
to 30 degrees, for the purpose of deepening or increasing the etching 
power of the solution.  After the acid has arrived at 16 degrees to 17 
degrees (Reaumur,) and gives off a peculiarly biting vapor, which 
powerfully affects the sense of smelling, the metal becomes softened, 
and then generally the process of changing the shadow upon the plate 
into a deep engraving or etching.  This is the decisive moment, and upon 
it must be bestowed the greatest attention.  The best method of proving 
if the acid be strong enough, is to apply a drop of the acid in which 
the plate now lies, to another plate:  if the acid make no impression, 
it is, of course, necessary to continue adding nitric acid; if, however, 
it corrode too deeply, then it is necessary to continue adding nitric 
acid; if, however, it corrode too deeply, then it is necessary to add 
water, the acid being too strong.  The greatest attention must be 
bestowed upon this process.  If the acid has been too potent, a 
fermentation or white froth will cover the whole picture, and thus not 
alone the surface of the picture, but also the whole surface of the 
plate, will quickly be corroded.  When, by a proper strength of the 
etching powers of the acid, a soft and expressive outline of the picture 
shall be produced, then may we hope to finish the undertaking favorably.  
We have now only to guard against an ill-measured division of the acid, 
and the avoidance of a precipitate.  To attain this end, I frequently 
lift the plate out of the fluid, taking care that the etching power 
shall be directed to whatever part of the plate it may have worked the 
least, and a seek to avoid the bubbles and precipitate, by a gentle 
movement of the acid. 
  In this manner, the process can be continued to the proper points of 
strength and clearness of etching required upon the plates from which it 
is proposed to print.  I believe that a man of talent, who might be 
interested with this art of etching, and who had acquired a certain 
degree of dexterity in preparing for it, would very soon arrive at the 
greatest clearness and perfection; and, from my experience, I consider 
that he would soon be able to simplify the whole process.  I have tried 
very often to omit the steaming and the gum arabic, but the result was 
not satisfactory, or the picture very soon after was entirely destroyed, 
so that I was compelled again to have recourse to them. 
  The task which I have undertaken is now fully performed, by placing in 
the hands of the public my method of etching and printing from the 
Daguerreotype plates, which information, being united to the knowledge 
and mechanical experience we already possess, and published to the 
world, may open a road to extensive improvement in the arts and 
sciences.  By thus laying open my statement to the scientific world, I 
hope to prove my devotion to the arts and sciences, which can end only 
with my life.--Atheneum, (London) May 23 
__________________________________ 
(1) We do not well see how a film of metallic silver, however thin, can 
be transparent. 
(2) This and some other passages, are a little obscure. 
 
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Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       
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10-25-96


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