The Daguerreian Society

From Scribner's Monthly Illustrated Magazine (New York) Vol. 22, No. 1 (May 1881) p. 149. (selected text)


Some Old-Fashion Things Worth Reviving

The Guitar.—Stringed Instruments in Church Music.—The Daguerreotype.—The Old Valentines

   I have left myself no time to speak of some other old-fashioned things I wish might be revived besides stringed instruments. There is the daguerreotype, for one. How much more beautiful than any photograph were those silvery, refined pictures which were the first children of Daguerre's invention! I well remember the first one seen in this city, whether taken here or brought from Paris I do not now remember. It was brought to the office of my father, who all his life was interested in everything that concerned the minor arts, and there I saw it in company with many more, for, as may be supposed, it awakened great curiosity. I suppose the main reason why the daguerreotype was abandoned was the difficulty one had in seeing the pictures well. The silvered plate made itself a mirror, and you saw yourself when you wanted to see your friend. But, this defect apart, it is certainly true that the daguerreotype excelled the photograph in delicacy and transparency of the shadows and in the exquisite refinement of the lines, the best untouched photograph looking coarse beside a good daguerreotype. I believe that if some practitioner would take up the older process again there would be many who would like to have specimens of it, even if they did not prefer it altogether to the newer method. For children, the daguerreotype process is very desirable and something elusive and penetrating into the transparent depths with our eyes, gives movement and life to the image. There is nothing of this variety in the photography.


(End of text. Please refer to our textnote regarding this text.)

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