The 
Daguerreian Society


I'll be away tomorrow and therefore sending this a day early. . .the 
description of the cold and ice seems appropriate for those of us in 
the Northern regions.


On this day (January 31) in the year 1854 an attempt to make 
daguerreotypes was unsuccessful.  The circumstances are described in 
Elisha Kent Kane, "Arctic explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition 
in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55." (Two volumes) 
(Philadelphia: Childs & Peterson, 1857)
- - - - - - - -

Volume 1
CHAPTER 14

MAGNETIC OBSERVATORY--TEMPERATURES--RETURNING LIGHT--DARKNESS AND THE 
DOGS--HYDROPHOBIA--ICE-CHANGES--THE ICE-FOOT--THE ICE-BELT--THE 
SUNLIGHT--MARCH

page 155:

   The first traces of returning light were observed at noon on the 
21st of January, when the southern horizon had for a short time a 
distinct orange tint.  Thought the sun had perhaps given us a band of 
illumination before, it was not distinguishable from the cold light of 
the planets.  We had been nearing the sunshine for thirty-two days, and 
had just reached that degree of mitigated darkness which made the 
extreme midnight of Sir Edward Parry in latitude 74 [degrees] 
47[minutes].  Even as late as the 31st, two very sensitive 
daguerreotype plates treated with iodine and bromine, failed to 
indicate any solar influence when exposed to the southern horizon at 
noon;  the camera being used in-doors, to escape the effects of cold.


Kane mentions the daguerreotype three times in the second volume:


CHAPTER 3
THE FIRE-CLOTHED BAG--THE WRAITH--COOKERY--A RESPITE--THE COMING DAWN--
THE TRUST--PROSPECTS--ARGUMENTS--COLORED SKIES--STOVE FITTING

page 46:

   "2.  The coming of the sun will open appliances of moral help to the 
sick, and give energy to the hygienic resorts which I am arranging at 
this moment.  Our miserable little kennel, where eighteen are crowded 
into the space of ten, is thoroughly begrimed with lampblack from the 
inevitable smoke of our fuel.  The weather has prevented our drying and 
airing the sleeping-gear.  The floor is damp from the conducted warmth 
of the sea-water under us, melting the ice that has condensed 
everywhere below.  sunshine and dry weather will cure all this.  I have 
window-sash ready to fix over the roof and southern side of the galley-
house; and our useless daguerreotype plates, tacked over wooden 
screens, make admirable mirrors to transfer the sun-rays into the 
cabin.  I have manufactured a full-draught pipe for our smoky stove.  
Chloride of sodium must do the rest.


CHAPTER 18
THE SICK HUT--TO FIRST RAVINE--MOVING THE SICK--THE HEALTH-STATION--
CONVALESENCE.

pages 184-185:

   I had made up my mind from an early period that, in the event of our 
attempting to escape upon the ice, the "wind-loved spot," as the 
Exquimaux poetically name it, would be well adapted to the purposes of 
an entrepot, and had endeavored within the last few weeks to fit it up 
also as a resting-place for our sick during the turmoil of removing 
from the brig.  I had its broken outlet closed by a practicable door, 
and the roof perforated to receive a stove-pipe.  Still more recently 
the stone platform or dais had been thoroughly cleansed, and covered 
with shavings which Ohlsen had saved while working at his boats.  Over 
these again were laid my best cushions; and two blankets, all that we 
could spare, were employed to tapestry the walls.  A small pane of 
glass, formerly the facing of a daguerreotype, inserted in the door, 
and a stove, made by combining the copper dog-vane of the galley with 
some dazzling tin pipes, completed the furniture.  It was a gloomy 
hospital after all for the poor fellows, who, more than sharing all the 
anxiety of their comrades, could have no relief in the excitement of 
active toil.


CHAPTER 19
TO THE BRIG AGAIN--WELCOME AT THE HUT--LOG OF THE SLEDGES--EDUCATED 
FAITH--GOOD-BYE TO THE BRIG--METEK'S PRAYER.

PAGES 196-197:

   But the things was not be thought of.  I gave a last look at the 
desolate galley-stove, the representative of our long winter's 
fireside, at the still bright coppers now full of frozen water, the 
theodolite, the chart-box, and poor Wilson's guitar,--one more at the 
remnant of the old moss walls, the useless daguerreotypes, and the 
skeletons of dog and deer and bear and musk-ox,--stoppered in the 
rigging;--and, that done, whipped up my dogs so much after the manner 
of a sentimentalizing Christian, that our pagan Metek raised a prayer 
in their behalf.

* * * * *

In another title, Kane also mentions the daguerreotype.  This is from 
Elisha Kent Kane, "The United States Grinnell expedition in search of 
Sir John Franklin. A personal narrative" (Philadelphia: Childs & 
Peterson, 1856) page 64:

   The fog left us about mid-day, and the atmosphere was so clear in 
the afternoon, that the land, although thirty miles off, was seen 
distinctly.  The water and the sky, in somewhat anomalous contrast with 
this extremely pellucid state of air, had a pearly or ash-colored 
tinting, and the floe ice, of which large quantities were around us, 
varied like the shadows of a daguerreotype.


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Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     
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01-31-99


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