Daguerreian Society

At the end of today's post is a response I received from Charlie Schreiner 
regarding the December 8th post and "Plumbe's patent."

On this day (December 14) in the year 1839, the following news item 
appeared in "The New-Yorker" (Vol. VIII, No. 13; page 205):

   The Daguerreotype.--The specimens of this wonderful art now exhibited by 
Mr. Gouraud at 57 Broadway are of a character to afford the most unmingled 
delight to those who take an interest in the fine arts.  On the first gleam 
of success of this new are, Mr. Daguerre must have exclaimed in the 
language of the philosopher of old--"eureka--eureka!"  The Daguerreotype is 
only another method of causing Nature herself to multiply her own 
works,--and although yet in its infancy the productions effected by means 
of it bear the impress of a perfection never before attained by human 
ingenuity.  The most beautiful and accurately painted miniature, if placed 
beside many of Mr. Daguerre's representation, would appear very mush like a 
miserable daub.  We say this not with a view to the disparagement of the 
works of any artists--but such must always be the results of a comparison 
of Art with Nature.  On our way home after an examination of these pictures 
we stopped at a window to gaze on some beautifully executed engravings--and 
were never so deeply struck with the immense short-comings of mere art. 
 Incomplete and superficial as the best artist must confess his labors to 
be, what a chance does the Daguerreotype afford him of studying the 
appearance which Nature should put on his representations upon canvass.  To 
the inventor of this curious art be all due credit for his ingenuity, but 
to Nature herself let all the merit of the wonderful fidelity in the 
minutiae of the pictures be awarded.  It is not in landscape views that the 
Daguerreotype impresses us most with its beauties; but in interiors, copies 
of oil paintings and statuary, where delicate shades and minute objects are 
to be preserved.  In these it is most accurate and astonishing. The best 
specimen of the art in Mr. Gouraud's collection is No. 21--an interior, in 
which are represented several statues, bas reliefs, drapery, and a portrait 
of Mr. Daguerre himself. This is certainly a very beautiful picture in its 
execution-nothing could be more perfect--and the price of it is $500. The 
price of the others vary from $40 to $300.  We said that the landscape vies 
were not so pleasing.  The reason of this is the difficulty of making a 
representation of any moving object--such as foliage, water, clouds, &c., 
and in place of these there is a dull leaden blank which in a great degree 
mars the beauty of the pictures.
   These specimens must be seen to be appreciated--no description can do 
justice to their beauties.  We hope, therefore, no one to whom the subject 
is in the least degree interesting will fail to take advantage of Mr. 
Gouraud's visit to this city, and examine them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Charlie Schreiner had these comments about my December 8 post:

Hello Gary,
  I've just started doing some research on daguerreotype patents and 
coincidently your Dec 8 included the above.  I've ordered copies of all the 
patents relating to daguerreotypes from a listing of patents issued by the 
U.S. Patent Office from 1790 to 1873. There are about 50 or so and Plumbe's 
name isn't there. It is possible that Plumbe purchased the rights from 
another person or the inventor could've been an associate or employee. My 
list shows a patent issued for coloring daguerreotypes May 28, 1842 to B.R. 
Stevens & L. Morse of Lowell, Mass.. Another issued on Oct. 22,1842 to D. 
Davis, Jr. of Boston Mass.  These are the first two (and the only in 1842) 
patents in the U.S. having to do with dags.
  Irving [Pobboravsky] and I have planned to do some experimenting over the 
winter. It occured to me that there might be some overlooked nuggets in   
patent material that would solve all our problems...what got me going on 
this in the first place.  In seeing this advertisement, it came to mind to 
compare the claim in the ad to the actual patent, then try to duplicate the 
results.  In your files, do you have other such ads boasting patented 
apparatus or processes?
   Also, if you are interested, the patent and its date of issue could be 
added to tidbits in DagNews.

Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       

Return to: DagNews 1996

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