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

On this day (September 20) in the year 1839, the following article appeared in "The Belfast Newsletter" (Northern Ireland): - - - - - - THE DAGUERROTYPE. On this curious subject the following interesting letter has been addressed to us by Mr. Beatty, the well-known engraver of this town. We have also received the specimen to which he refers, and the effect noticed by him is extremely singular-- TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEWS-LETTER. SIR--Being occasionally engaged since the announcement of M. Daguerre's extraordinary invention, of fixing on silver plated on copper the minute images of external objects produced by means of the Camera Obscura. After a number of experiments, I was somewhat surprised to find that in using silver paper the effect was different from silver plated on copper, although treated in similar manner. Silver plated on copper gives the true effect of light and shade, while silver on paper gives the opposite, namely, the light parts of the subject are dark, and the dark shades are in proportionate degree light. In order to convince you of the fact, I send you a specimen; but our days of late having been cloudy, you cannot expect it to be as perfect as I would wish. I hope before your next publication to be able to submit to you a specimen on silver plated on copper and silver on paper, in order that you may more completely understand the difference. Hoping that this communication may have the effect of promoting inquiry on the subject, I remain your obedient servant, FRANCIS S. BEATTY. Thanks to Justin Carville (of the republic of Ireland) for today's post. Mr. Carville also provides the following information: "...Francis Steward Beatty (1807-1891) was an engraver from Belfast in what is now known as Northern Ireland. Beatty worked as an operator for Richard Beard before returning to Belfast to set up his own studio in the early 1840's. As with most of his business ventures it does not appear to have been a successful venture (Beatty died a pauper in a Dublin Workhouse.) He continued his profession as an engraver during this time and eventually moved to Dublin to set up a photographic studio during the mid 1840's. His premises seemed to have moved almost yearly so I would surmise that his various endeavours in photography were extremely unsuccessful, as were most similar ventures in Dublin during this period. He also dabbled in photo-lithography and had a spell as a patent agent." -------------------------------------------------------------- 09-20-99

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