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

Two items today... - - - - - - - - On this day (April 4) in the year 1851, the following notice appeared in the "Boston Daily Evening Transcript": One of the pleasantest resorts in this city, for strangers and persons interested in all that relates to the advancement of art, is the Daguerrian establishment of Mr L. H. Hale, 109 Washington street. One has but to see Mr Hale's rooms, which he has recently fitted up in beautiful drawing-room style, to be assured that he is a genuine artist in his tastes. Ladies in particular will be pleased to find that a half hour can be passed here, waiting for a friend, as comfortably and profitably as in their own parlors. Music, birds, pictures, books and flowers show, that he is as mindful of the comforts of his visitors as of his own. Of Mr Hale's daguerreotypes we can speak in the highest terms. We have seen none from any quarter that are superior to his best. He is very careful in adjusting the position and expression of his sitters, and in securing good and pleasing likenesses. * * * * * * * And in the April 1840 issue of "Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, and Monthly American Review." (Philadelphia; Vol. VI., No.IV; pp. 193-4.) Under the header "A CHAPTER ON SCIENCE AND ART." IMPROVEMENTS IN THE DAGUERREOTYPE.--Numerous improvements have been lately made in the beautiful art of photogeny. The baron Seguier has exhibited an instrument constructed by himself, with many ingenious modifications, having for their objects a diminution in size and weight, and a simplification, in other respects, of the entire apparatus. Several of the conditions which have been announced as required for the success of the process, may be dispensed with. It is probable, now, that the operations of the art may be rendered practicable in the open country--even those nice and delicate ones which, at present, seem to demand protection against too strong a light. An objective glass has been constructed by M. Cauche, with the view of redressing the image obtained in the Daguerreotype; this image is now presented reversed, a circumstance which has the bad effect of destroying all vraisemblance. The Abbe Moignat has been endeavoring, in conjunction with M. Soleil, (a name quite a propos,) to introduce the light of oxy-hydrogen gas as the principle of illumination to the objects intended to be represented. M. Bayard is said to have fully succeeded in taking impressions on paper. Mr. Fox Talbot, in England, has also done this. In America, we have by no means been idle. It has been here ascertained that instead of the costly combination of glasses employed by M. Daguerre, a single Meniscus glass produces an exact and brilliant result. We have also found that we can do without the dilute nitric acid in photogeny, as well as in lithography. The process is thus greatly simplified; for the use of the acid has heretofore been considered one of the nicest points in the preparation of the plate. When unequally applied, the golden color is not uniform. Now, it is only necessary to finish the polish of the plate with dry rotten stone, well levigated and washed, using dry cotton to rub it with afterwards. We make the iodine-box, too, much shallower than does M. Daguerre. With his box, from fifteen to thirty minutes exposure of the plate was required before the proper color was produced. Four inches will be deep enough; and there should be a tray, an inch deep, fitting into the bottom of the box. Upon this tray the iodine is to be spread, and then covered with a double thickness of fine gauze, tacked to the upper edge of the tray--supports being fastened in each corner of the box, at such height as will admit of the plate being lowered to within an inch of the gauze. -------------------------------------------------------------- 04-04-97

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