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

In February of 1871, the following article appeared in "The Photographic Times." (New York; Vol. I, No. 2): - - - - - - - - - DAGUERRE'S PHOTOGRAPHY. "A FEW days since, M. Daguerre exhibited, in one of the rooms attached to the Chamber of Deputies, several specimens of the products of the Daguerreotype. Among them were views of three streets of the capital, the interior of M. Daguerre's atelier, and a group of busts in the collection of the Louvre. The deputies who examined them, and who continued to crowd the room throughout the day, were particularly struck with the marvellous minuteness of detail which these views, and especially those of the streets, exhibited. In one, representing the Pont Marie, all the minutest indentations and divisions of the ground or the building, the goods lying on the wharf, even the small stones under the water at the edge of the stream, and the different degrees of transparency given to the water, were all shown with the most incredible accuracy. The use of a magnifying glass revealed an infinity of other details quite undistinguishable by the naked eye, and more particularly in the foliage of trees. The antique busts are said to have been rendered by this method with very great beauty of effect. The chemical substance upon which the light acts, according to M. Daguerre's method, is laid upon sheets of copper, which, for the drawing exhibited on Saturday, were about nine or ten inches by six or seven inches. The expense of such plates M. Daguerre estimates at about 3 fr 50c. each, but he expects that considerable reductions may be ultimately made in their cost, and that the improvement of his method will render it applicable to other substances not metallic." The above was published by Galignani in 1840, and is really an account of the christening of Photography. How the bright-eyed baby has grown since, and what a raft of pictures can now be had--full of "minuteness of detail"--for "3 francs 50 centimes!"--Ed. (The "1840" date is in error. The "Galignani's Messenger" article describing this display of daguerreotypes appeared 9 July 1839. --G.E.) -------------------------------------------------------------- 02-10-97

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