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

On this day (September 24) in the year 1853, the following notice appeared in "The Illustrated London News" pg. 258: - - - - - - - - - - - THE DAGUERREOTYPE. (To the Editor of the Illustrated London News.) 107, Regent-street, 22nd Sept. 1853 Allow me to correct an error which is contained in your notice of the proceedings of the British Association at Hull, wherein it is stated that "a daguerreotype portrait could be now obtained in the 1000th part of a second." The facts are these: on Friday, the 9th, in the Chemical Section, after a lecture I had given on the daguerreotype process an interesting discussion took place on the photogenic power of the moon's rays. I was asked in what time the rays of the moon could operate upon a daguerreotype tablet, and in what time those of the sun could do the same. I answered that I had obtained an image of the full moon in four seconds; and, with the same apparatus, one of the sun in the thousanth part of a second; which very nearly corresponded with the calculation made by several philosophers, who had ascertained before the discovery of photography that the moon reflected only one 250,000th part of the rays of the sun. Photography has, therefore, been not only the means of corroborating the truth of previous experiments; but of proving that the moon reflects as much photogenic rays as visual rays. My statement, as you see, referred only to the taking of an image of the sun, but not of portraits of the human face; and, as your notice, which will be seen some hundred thousands of readers, in all parts of the world, might convey the idea that I have made some new discovery by which the Photographic surface is rendered considerably more sensitive than it is by the most improved process known, the insertion of this letter in your next number will disabuse those who might have been misled by the report. I am, &c., A. CLAUDET. -------------------------------------------------------------- 09-24-97

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