Daguerreian Society

On this day (February 5) in the year 1859, the following article 
appeared in "Humphrey‚s Journal" (New York) Vol. 10, No. 20 (15 
February 1859) pp. 307-308:
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                     On the Daguerreotype.
                      BY S. D. HUMPHREY.

   The art of "Sun-drawing" is of vast importance in this country, and 
one in which the mass of the people are interested.  Every member of 
society knows what a Daguerreotype is.  These beautiful pictures are 
familiar to all, and, judging from the past, we look forward with 
perfect confidence to the time when the discovery of Daguerre will hold 
its old position as being the foremost of all the known processes for 
producing miniatures by the aid of light.  We only reiterate a well-
established fact when we assert that, at the present time, the 
Daguerreotype is the most perfect and reliable of all pictures.
   The frail and fading Ambrotype is often sold, by unprincipled 
operators, for a Daguerreotype, and thus the unsuspecting public are 
defrauded and led to condemn the most beautiful pictures which it is 
possible to produce.  The soft finish and delicate definition of a 
Daguerreotype has never yet been equalled by any other style of picture 
produced by actinic agency, while for durability we have no proof of 
any other impression being permanent.  There can be no question, that 
if the public were fully posted as to the real worth of Daguerre‚s 
discovery, his process would be the only one that would meet with favor 
at their hands.  If the operators would hold fast to this process, and 
recommend no other, they would greatly enhance the value of their art 
and improve the somewhat shaken confidence which now exists with regard 
to it.
   Whenever we hear a person decrying the old Daguerreotype we look 
upon him as one who cannot make a good picture by that process, which, 
by the way, is far more difficult than most of the others, and hence 
the reason of its being so much neglected of late.  We do not believe 
that any experienced and successful Daguerreotype operator can be found 
who will not lift up his voice in favor of his old art, as he must have 
realized the most eminent satisfaction from his early practice and 
received a far better remuneration for his services;  he can also 
conscientiously assert that his customers will never have cause to 
regret that their patronage has been bestowed on durable pictures.
   We look back with much satisfaction upon the impressions which we 
took in ‚45 and ‚46;  every picture is as brilliant and pleasing as 
when it was taken, and bids fair to last hundreds of years yet.
   There are few persons familiar with the practical department of the 
heliographic art generally who will not give their testimony in favor 
of the Daguerreotype for securing likenesses of their friends.  The 
process of finishing one of these pictures is founded upon scientific 
principles, and there is the most overwhelming argument in favor of 
their durable properties--they are secured from the oxydizing influence 
of adulterated atmosphere, and are the only pictures so secured;  for 
in the Ambrotype we have organic matter in direct contact with the 
silver, and the same with the Photograph.  We again repeat what we have 
said many times before to all our friends:  Procure a Daguerreotype in 
preference to any other style of picture!

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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