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

On this day (August 17) in the year 1853, the following "Circular" was addressed for delivery. The front of the folded sheet bears the written inscription, "S. D. Humphrey / N. York, Aug. 17/53 / Daguerreotype-- Circular." The printed address states "TO ANY DAGUERREIAN ARTIST." The following is the contents of the circular: - - - - - - - - - - - - To the Daguerreotype Public. ------------ New York, August, 1853 DEAR SIR: I desire to call your especial attention to a work upon a subject in which you are, in common with all lovers of the Daguerreotype art, interested. I am now ready to furnish a work giving all the available recipes now used in our art; among them will be found rare and valuable instructions--instructions not before published. It is well known to you that the operators in America have been greatly imposed upon by persons who, with great pretensions, insist they have something new, and not unfrequently impose upon the inexperienced by selling them a recipe for some chemical or other process, well known by those operators who live in or close to our large city. My object now is to prevent this course of deception, and place before the daguerreotype public a Text Book which shall serve as an effectual guard and be a matter of money- saving. It is useless for me to speak farther to you upon this subject, for by presenting the following list of recipes you cannot but appreciate the great utility and value of such a work. The following recipes are given: [In the original, the following list is given in three equal columns each separated by a wavy line] For preparing GURNEY'S AMERICAN COMPOUND. Most approved gilding Solution. Preparation of Rotten Stone. Preparation of Rouge. Bromine Water. GILDING DISSOLVENT Solution for removing the coating. Agent for absorbing the vapor of Bromine and Iodine. Chloride of Bromine. Bromide of Lime Pure. M. Soliel's process for determining the time of exposure in the camera. To make Daguerreotype Plates. Cyanide of Mercury. Acidulated Solution. Why Rouge is liked. Mixtures for coating the Plate over only one box. Solution of Chlorate of Potash. Two pictures of one person on one Plate. Electrotyping Daguerreotypes. Transparent Background. Removing black speck on Daguerreotypes. Instantaneous Process. Chlorine used as an Accelerating Agent. Accelerating Substances. Copying Engravings. [second column] Arrangement of Lenses. Chloride of Iodine--its use. Iodide of Potassium. Cold Gilding. Etching Daguerreotype Plates. Cyanide of Potassium. Murate of Ammonia. Bromide of Silver. Chlorine. Bromine. Iodine. Daguerreotypes by Artificial Light. Hydrobromic Acid. NEW PROCESS FOR COLORING DAGUERREOTYPES. This is now being sold for from $5 to $50, and has never been published. CRAYON DAGUERREOTYPES--how made. Colored Rings on the Daguerreotype Plate. Process for producing natural colors. Interesting experiments with Bromine. Re-producing a picture after the plate is supposed to be thoroughly cleaned. Enameled Daguerreotypes. Iodide of Lime. To cleanse Buckskins. Hyposulphite of Soda. Iodide of Mercury. Daguerreotypes without Mercury. [third column] New combination for Dry Quick, never before published. Chlorobromide of Lime. Bromo-Iodide of Lime. Engraving Daguerreotypes. Black Polish. Potassium Solution. Bleaching Solution for taking the blue out of Linen, &c. Various mixtures of Quick Stuff, among which are many valuable recipes. The old original VAN LOAN QUICK, furnished to me by the discoverer and never published by any other person. Chloride of Calcium. Chloride of Gold. Chloride of Silver. Solution for removing spots or scum from the Daguerreotype impression. Cleaning Mercury. Floride of Bromine. Reflectors for taking views. A new way to work Bromine in hot weather. This has been kept a secret, and cost more than four time the amount charged for this book. Liquid for increasing the brilliancy of Daguerreotypes. [end of the three-column text] The foregoing comprise only a portion of recipes given, and no one can for a moment doubt the great value and convenience of such a hand- book. There is not an operator in the world who cannot save four times the price of this work by a faithful perusal of its pages. Price, Two Dollars per copy. Will be sent to subscribers by mail, postage paid. Persons at a distance are informed that Post Office stamps would be preferable to notes on distant banks. Address, (post-paid.) S. D. HUMPRHEY, NEW YORK CITY, New York A few notes from Gary: This advertised "hand-book" was published as "American Hand Book of the Daguerreotype: giving the Most Approved and Convenient Methods for Preparing the Chemicals, and the Combinations Used in the Art. Containing the Daguerreotype, Electrotype, and Various other Processes Employed in Taking Heliographic Impressions." (New York: S. D. Humphrey) (My copy is the 1973 Arno reprint of the Fifth Edition - 1858) The title is available in PDF format (although lacking the illustrations; also incorrectly identified on the web page as "Humphreys Daguerreian Journal") from the "reference" page at: http://www.daguerreotypes.com/ The title is also available from Greg Walker at: http://www.zilker.net/~gwalker/digidag/index.html (Available as ASCII text or in RTF; illustrations are available in gif format in a ZIP archive. The advantage of these formats is that, with any good word-processing program, it is word-searchable.) Cited from an original circular in the collection of Matthew R. Isenburg, Hadlyme CT. -------------------------------------------------------------- 08-17-97

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