The 
Daguerreian Society


On this day (January 11) in the year 1847, the following article 
appeared in "The Boston Daily Evening Transcript":
- - - - - - - -

   MICROSCOPIC DAGUERREOTYPES.  At the suggestion of several friends, 
the following brief account is prepared, of some incipient experiments 
recently made at my request, by Mr John A. Whipple of this city, for 
combining the microscope and the Daguerreotype apparatus.  I believe 
the attempt has not before been made in this country, and I was not 
aware, when commencing these experiments, that the thing had been 
attempted abroad.  A distinguished foreign naturalist now in this city, 
pronounced the results produced here superior to any he has seen in 
Europe.
   We used an excellent compound microscope, made by Oberhauser, of 
Paris.  We have used it both with and without the eye glass, but we are 
not yet able to decide which method is best.  The first object tried 
was a spider's claw, measuring by the micrometer 1 60 of an inch in its 
longest dimension.  On removing the plate, we had the pleasure of 
seeing on it a beautifully defined figure of the object magnified 75 
diameters, or superficially 5625 times.  The only defect was a slight 
excess of light in the centre.  We modified the arrangement, and tried 
the eye of an insect.  A correct figure was obtained, but with the same 
defect.  Suspecting what proved to be the true cause of the difficulty-
-reflected light--we still further varied the arrangements, and tried 
the Pulex.  We had the satisfaction on this trial to obtain a well-
defined Daguerreotype impression of the object entirely free from the 
defect which marred the others.  Several other objects have been tried 
with equal success.  Even the invisible may be Daguerreotyped, enlarged 
almost indefinitely.
   I am under great obligation to Mr Whipple, for the skill and 
industry with which he has aided the experiments.  In the midst of 
pressing engagements with visitors to procure his excellent miniatures, 
he has cheerfully devoted himself, and his apparatus combined with my 
microscope, to this work.  He is now preparing a small cabinet of 
Daguerreotypes of minute objects in Natural History, to be exhibited at 
his room, 113 Washington street.
   As this use of the Daguerreotype gives enlarged figures of the 
minutest objects with unerring truth, I hope it may aid the naturalist 
in revealing the "elegantly little," and writing it legibly in enduring 
letters of light.  Prevented as I am by other engagements from devoting 
time to these experiments, I hope Mr Whipple and others will prosecute 
them until the process is made easy in practice and perfect in 
execution.  The first specimen obtained on the 21st of December, 1846, 
may be seen at my school-room in Central Place.
                                       SOLOMON ADAMS.
   Central Place, Boston, Jan 7, 1847


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Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     
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01-11-99


Return to: DagNews 1999

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