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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

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 -------------------------------------------------------------- 01-11-99

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