Stereoscopic Photography

3D photography or stereoscopic photography is the art of capturing and displaying two slightly offset photographs to create three-dimensional images. The 3D effect works because of a principle called stereopsis. Each eye is in a different location, and as a result, it sees a slightly different image.

Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“Of late, there is quite a revival in this branch of our art-science, several English and many foreign amateurs having been working with twin lenses during the last and present seasons. The Belgian Bulletin has an article on the subject, and the last technical meeting of the Photographic Society was devoted to it. Although Wheatstone announced the instrument in 1838, it was not until photography had come to his aid by furnishing satisfactory diagrams, and Brewster had popularized the matter by the invention of the lenticular stereoscope, that much progress was made; then Wheatstone gave his Bakerian lecture on January 15th, 1852, to put the finishing touch to this important branch of scientific work. The earlier attempts failed by reason of employing too wide an angle.”

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by Various

Photos: Pixabay



Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“A very rapid process to make newspaper illustrations, called gelatinography, is described in the following:

A black glass plate or a tin plate coated with black varnish, as used by sign-painters, is covered with plaster of Paris (gypsum) to a thickness of four-ply cardboard. The plaster of Paris must be of the best quality and reduced to a very fine powder. Add thereto some alum and some sulphate of barium, and in order to prevent the coating from being too brittle, add also a trifle of glycerine or of a gelatine solution.

This mixture must have the consistency of a thin pulp when applied to the glass or tin with a soft camel’s-hair brush.

When dry, the artist may engrave into this coat of plaster of Paris, by means of a lithographic engraving needle, any design or picture with the greatest ease; the plate or glass is thereby laid bare, and design or picture appears black through the plaster of Paris coating. Mistakes or errors are easily remedied by filling in the plaster of Paris preparation.

With the regular printers’ roller composition a stereotype is now made of the picture or design on the glass or plate, in the usual way; some bichromate of ammonia solution should be added to the roller composition, to make the stereotype hard enough for the type press, and it will be as durable as any electrotype, and answer the same purpose.–Am. Lith. and Printer.”

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by Various

Photos: Pixabay



Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

On the twelfth of August, in front of the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, dedicated to manifold arts and sciences, will be erected a lasting memorial to Daguerre, the author that we all know fixed the visible image on a given surface, which is photography, with all its varieties and names, and they are numerous.

Why should we Americans put up such a memorial? The inscription on the granite below the bronze portrait tells the story:

“To commemorate the first half century in photography, 1839–1889. Photography, the electric telegraph, and the steam engine are the three great discoveries of the age. No five centuries in human progress can show such strides as these. Erected by The Photographers’ Association of America, August, 1890.”

The monument, now almost complete, its bronze features being of a high order of art, will stand sixteen feet high, and will be the only international monument in the city of Washington, where Smithson himself dedicated his fortune for the advancement of science in the western world.

In connection with this celebration we present to our readers a portrait of Daguerre. Strange to say, there are but few authentic portraits of Daguerre in existence. In our search for such a portrait we discovered the one here reproduced; it was engraved by Orr from a photograph by Dr. Meade, of New York, for the International Magazine, of that city, and used to illustrate the obituary of the eminent Frenchman, September 1, 1851. As everything relating to Daguerre cannot but prove of interest at the present time, we republish the interesting article in full as it appeared at the time:

Lewis Jacques Mande Daguerre, whose name is forever associated with the photographic process, of which he was the discoverer, died on the tenth of July, in Paris, in the sixty-second year of his age. He was a man of extreme modesty and great personal worth, and was devoted to art.

He was favorably known to the world before the announcement of his discovery of the Daguerreotype. His attempts to improve panoramic painting, and the production of dioramic effects, were crowned with the most eminent success. Among his pictures, which attracted much attention at the time of their exhibition, were, “The Midnight Mass,” “Land-slip in the Valley of Goldan,” “The Temple of Solomon,” and “The Cathedral of Sainte Marie de Montreal.”

In these the alternate effects of night and day, and storm and sunshine, were beautifully produced. To these effects of light were added others, from the decomposition of form, by means of which, for example in “The Midnight Mass,” figures appeared where the spectators had just beheld seats, altars, etc.; and again, as in “The Valley of Goldan,” in which rocks tumbling from the mountains replaced the prospect of a smiling valley.

The methods adopted in these pictures were published at the same time with the process of Daguerreotype, by order of the French Government, who awarded an annual pension of ten thousand francs to Daguerre and M. Niepce, Jr., whose father had contributed towards the discovery of the Daguerreotype. Daguerre was led to experiments on chemical changes by solar radiations, with the hope of being able to apply the phenomena to the production of effects in his dioramic paintings. As the question of the part taken by him in the process to which he has given his name has been discussed sometimes to his advantage, it appears important that his position should be correctly determined. In 1802, Wedgwood, of Eturia, the celebrated potter, made the first recorded experiments in photography; and these, with some additional ones by Sir Humphrey Davy, were published in the journals of the royal institution. In 1814, Mr. Joseph Nicephore Niepce was engaged in experiments to determine the possibility of fixing the images obtained in the camera obscura; but there does not appear any evidence of publication of any kind previously in 1827, when Niepce was in England. He there wrote several letters to Mr. Bauer, the microscopic observer, which are preserved and printed in Hunt’s “Researches on Light.”

He also sent specimens of results obtained to the Royal Society, and furnished some to the cabinets of the curious, a few of which are yet in existence. These were pictures on metallic plates covered with film of resin.

In 1824 Daguerre commenced his researches, starting at that point at which Wedgwood left the process. He soon abandoned the employment of the nitrate and chloride of silver, and proceeded with his inquiry, using plates of metal and glass to receive his sensitive coating. In 1829 Mr. Vincent Chevalier brought Niepce and Daguerre together, when they entered into partnership to prosecute the subject in common. For a long time they appear to have used the resinous surface only, when the contrast between the resin and the metal plates not being sufficiently great to give a good picture, endeavors were made to blacken that part of the plate from which the resin was removed in the process of heliography (sun drawing), as it was most happily called. Amongst other materials, iodine was employed; and Daguerre certainly was the first to notice the property possessed by the iodine coating of changing under the influence of the sun’s rays. The following letter from Niepce to Daguerre is on this subject:

“81, Loup de Varvennes, June 23, 1831.

“Sir and Dear Partner:–I had long expected to hear from you with too much impatience not to receive and read with the greatest pleasure your letters of the tenth and twenty-first of last May.

“I shall confine myself in this reply to yours of the twenty-first, because, having been engaged ever since it reached me in your experiments on iodine, I hasten to communicate to you the results which I have obtained. I had given my attention to similar researches previous to our connection, but without hope of success, from the impossibility, or nearly so, in my opinion, of fixing in any durable manner the image received on iodine, even supposing the difficulty surmounted of replacing the lights and shadows in their natural order. My results in this respect have been entirely similar to those which the oxide of silver gave me; and promptitude of operation was the sole advantage which these substances appeared to offer. Nevertheless, last year, after you left this, I subjected iodine to new trials, but by a different mode of application. I informed you of the results, and your answer, not at all encouraging, decided me to carry these experiments no farther. It appears that you have since viewed the question under a less desperate aspect, and I do not hesitate to reply to the appeal which you have made.

“J. N. Niepce.”

From this and other letters it is evident that Niepce had used iodine, and abandoned it on account of the difficulty of reversing the lights and shadows. Daguerre employed it also, as it appears, with far more promise of success than any obtained by M. Niepce. On the fifth of July, 1833, Niepce died; in 1837 Daguerre and Isodore Niepce, the son and heir of Nicephore Neipce, entered into a definite agreement, and in a letter written on the first of November, 1837, to Daguerre, Isodore Niepce says, “What a difference, also, between the method which you employ and the one by which I toil on! While I require almost a whole day to make one design, you ask only four minutes! What an enormous advantage! It is so great, indeed, that no person knowing both methods would employ the old one.” From this time it is established that although both Niepce and Daguerre used iodine, the latter alone employed it with any degree of success, and the discovery of the use of mercurial vapor to produce the positive image clearly belongs to Daguerre. In January, 1839, Daguerreotype pictures were first shown to the scientific and artistic public of Paris.

The sensation they created was great, and the highest hopes of its utility were entertained. On the 15th of June M. Duchatel, Minister of the Interior, presented a bill to the Chamber of Deputies relative to the purchase of the process of M. Daguerre for fixing the images of the camera. A commission appointed by the Chamber, consisting of Arago, Etienne, Carl, Vatout, de Beaumont, Toursover, Delessert (Francois), Combarel de Leyral, and Vitet, made their report in July, and a special commission was appointed by the Chamber of Peers, composed of the following peers: Barons Athalin Besson, Gay Lussac, the Marquis de Laplace, Vicomte Simeon, Baron Thenard, and the Comte de Noe, who reported favorably on the 30th of July, 1839, and recommended unanimously that the “bill be adopted simply, and without alteration.” On the 19th of August the secret was for the first time publicly announced in the institution by M. Arago, the English patent having been completed a few days before, in open defiance and contradiction of the statement of M. Duchatel to the Chamber of Deputies, who used these words:

“Unfortunately for the authors of this beautiful discovery, it is impossible for them to bring their labor into the market, and thus indemnify themselves for the sacrifices incurred by so many attempts so long fruitless. This invention does not admit of being secured by patent.”

In conclusion, the Minister of the Interior said: “You will concur in a sentiment which has already awakened universal sympathy. You will never suffer us to leave to foreign nations the glory of endowing the world of science and of art with one of the most wonderful discoveries that honor our native land.” Daguerre never did much towards the improvement of his process. The high degree of sensibility which has been attained has been due to the experiments of others.

Daguerre is said to have been always averse to sitting for his own picture, and there are but few photographs of him in existence. The one from which our engraving is copied was taken by Mr. Meade of this city, and first appeared in the Daguerrean Journal, a monthly periodical conducted by S. D. Humphrey and L. L. Hill, who were distinguished for their improvements upon Daguerre’s process.

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by Various

Photos: Pixabay


Military Photography

Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“Captain Curties, of the Royal Engineers, has written a series of articles on the above subject, which were published in the Broad Arrow. In the last of the series he gives a description of his photographic outfit. His arrangements for exposing and developing the plates in the field afford interesting reading. However, judging from our own experiences on the scout, the picket line, or field, we should say that the whole scheme, as portrayed by Captain Curties, is more or less chimerical, and no matter how plausible the plan may seem or read to the members of a theoretical camera club in their well-furnished quarters, there are certain difficulties in the way which would make the scheme impracticable, and even if these were overcome, the results would be of but little if any use in actual service, a fact which will be apparent to anyone who has seen active military service.

The captain in his articles says:

“The one object I have kept in view all through has been to simplify the art as much as possible, and to make each photographic section complete in itself, and able to take, develop, and print a picture without any outside help in the shortest time possible. Having this end in view, my equipment supplies in the first place two light knapsacks, to be carried in a reconnaissance by two mounted officers or men. One contains a very light fold-up camera, capable of taking pictures 10 in. by 12 in., round which is wrapped the focussing cloth. It has not appeared to me desirable to place before a general a view of a country smaller than this. The extra weight would be more than compensated for by the comprehensive picture obtained; moreover, in a small plate, I take it, distance would not be fairly and distinctly portrayed. The other knapsack carries three dark slides, very light but strong, each containing two plates. This knapsack also contains the lens, instantaneous shutter, etc. Both knapsacks are made to fit close to the back, and, in addition to the straps passing over the shoulders, are secured to the sword-belt, thus preventing any injurious motion when riding. By the simple act of unbuckling one strap, each can be at once unslung ready to be unpacked. The tripod, which is made as light as can be consistently with strength and stability, is carried folded up in a bucket attached to the saddle, and fixes immediately on to the camera. We next proceed to the all-important subject of “developing” in the field. For this purpose I use a tent composed of a large, folding, umbrella-shaped top, made of a material which admits a deep ruby light. When this is opened and fixed in the ground, it stands just clear of a tall man’s head. Over it is dropped a sort of sack, open at bottom ends, the top end being much smaller than the bottom end, and capable of being drawn together by means of two cords. This sack is lightproof and waterproof. The lower end is held down by means of a light iron hoop or ring, which also folds up to facilitate packing. The hoop is attached to the bottom of the sack in such a way that a border of the material extends beyond it, and rests upon the ground. This, in the ordinary way, is sufficient to keep out light, but should any find its way in, a few handfuls of earth or stones heaped up round the border will effectually keep it out. The stick of the umbrella is a hollow bamboo, open at the top. It is pierced with holes to about half its length; this ventilates the tent. A cap placed over the top of the stick excludes light, but not air. We now have a complete tent in which a man can move about freely, and use his hands without constraint, and, above all, he is not half stifled, as one generally is in the usual run of developing tents. It can be taken down at a moment’s notice, and packed in a very small compass, the whole being exceedingly light and compact. A few stays may be necessary in windy weather to keep it steady. The person about to develop a plate slings over his shoulders, knapsack fashion, a small metal tank, containing sufficient water to wash several plates; attached to it is a gutta-percha tube and tap. Round the waist is buckled a broad leather belt, in which are fixed bottles containing the developing solutions, etc. A light fold-up trough, with a gutta-percha drain-pipe, carried outside the tent, and two light shelves, hook on to the stick of the umbrella. All that now has to be done is to lift up the walls of the tent, step inside, and develop and print the picture, which by using bromide-paper (undoubtedly the process for military use), would take something like a quarter of an hour, the printing, of course, to be done from the wet plate. I may mention that I use scarcely any glass beyond the plates (which I believe in); those articles which are made of glass are protected to prevent breakage. I believe myself that the whole of the articles now made of glass can be manufactured from a preparation of celluloid, which is strong, light, and durable. I hope shortly to have a complete set of bottles, measures etc., made of celluloid.”

  1. Stravos Zellis, of Alexandria in Egypt, recommends the following process for marking or lettering on the sensitized paper such names as we wish to give the prints. He takes a piece of thin white paper and traces upon it the words which he wishes to have at the bottom of his negative, and oils it on both sides; having removed the excess of oil by rubbing it between two sheets of bibulous paper, he coats it with varnish on both sides and allows it to dry. On the other hand, he removes from the bottom of the negative a portion of the gelatine, equal to the size of the paper, and substitutes for it the paper, which he sticks by means of a solution of gum arabic and water. He removes then the air bubbles, which would prevent complete adherence, and this being done, waits for his work to dry. If, when printing on the sensitized paper, it is found that the letters do not show very white, the defective portions should be retouched on the back of the oiled paper. To write his name Mr. Zellis makes use of a mixture of gum arabic, lampblack, and water. This process is simple, cheap, and gives excellent results.–Annals Photographique.

At the meeting of the Photographic Society of Berlin, President Stolze exhibited the sketch of the Daguerre monument to be erected in Washington city, at the cost of six thousand dollars.

Dr. Julius Stinde declared never to have seen anything more disgusting (schauerlicheres) than this unhappy head of Daguerre, crushed under the weight of a large ball, and attributes the depravity of our taste to the high duty on articles of fine arts. He says that such monstrosities show that we Americans are yet in point of art barbarians of the purest water. Mr. E. Himly, as well as Dr. Stolze, takes our part, and shows that the American photographic journals have unanimously condemned and ridiculed Mr. H. McMichel’s scheme, and exonerate us as a body. Bravo!–Photographische Nachrichten.”

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by Various

Photos: Pixabay



Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“If any one wants to become thoroughly acquainted with the weaknesses and frailties of humanity, just let him become a camera carrier, in “all that the word implies,”–and he will enter a school, wherein he will learn more of the different phases of human nature in one lesson than he has during the last ten years of his life. No other vocation, if we except that of the live newspaper reporter, offers the same advantages in this biological study. Varied indeed are the experiences and vicissitudes of the amateur photographer, whether the camera bearer carries the latest Universal, with aluminium mounting, or rejoices in a Premium Pinhole outfit, he experiences the same annoyances and disappointments. Ignorant and unreasonable people are sure to be met with on an outing, and, worse than all, he has frequently to suffer for the sins of some rude member of the guild who has been there before him. Experiences like these are but too apt to discourage persons of a nervous or sensitive temperament; the picture, however, is not all shadows. There is often a bright side for the camera bearer, especially if he be susceptible of the humorous. Photographically speaking, the writer, in addition to such annoyances as double exposures, unaccountable fog, forgetting to draw the slide, put plates in the holder, or take the cap off, to say nothing of neglecting to insert the stop, has met with many rebuffs and disappointments on his outings, through meeting with ignorant or unreasonable people, in all such cases his rule has been always to look upon the comical side of the situation, and try to achieve his object, bringing into play his common sense, tact and knowledge of human nature, generally with the result of obtaining the coveted negative.

The trouble, however, does not always lay in the strangers we meet in our travels; the fault too often is with the camera bearer. There is a class of persons, largely represented among the guild of amateur photographers, who presume entirely too much on their wealth or social standing, and who at home pride themselves on their good breeding and polite manners, claiming to be within the so-called exclusive social circles or sets; yet they no sooner get away from the restraint of their immediate surroundings, such as a photographic outing affords, than they seem to forget that at least a little courtesy is due the strangers on whose premises they trespass. The dweller in a picturesque tumble-down shanty, or custodian of an old colonial or religious land mark, no matter in how humble circumstances of life they may be, have rights guaranteed them under the law, which even the exclusive amateur is bound to respect. One specimen of this kind will often spoil the game for all amateurs for some time to come. We will give a few instances which have come under our notice.

Early last spring two prominent members of the Quaker City Camera Club concluded to photograph an historic old church in one of the German counties (so-called) in our state. The place was rather difficult of access, being away from the usual lines of modern travel, so extensive preparations were made. The day proved all that could be desired. A team had been telegraphed for, and met the pair at the nearest railroad station. When the spot was reached the outfits were quickly unpacked and set up. No permission was asked, nor notice was taken of flower-beds trampled over, or other damage done. Then the bell of the parsonage was rung,–the clergyman answered the call in person. The spokesman, great in his own importance, asked for the keys of the church, as they wished to photograph it. The dominie answered, with an unmistakable Pennsylvania Dutch accent, that the sexton lived about a half a mile down the road. The reply was, that as he had a key it did not suit them to run after the sexton. Well, one word brought on the other, and the parley ended with the clergyman saying, “You will please excuse me; I got no time to fool with such nonsense, and I can’t be bothered with opening the church for every fool photographer who chooses to come out here from town; please go about your business, if you have any.” The interview closed with the threat by the parson to use a hoe-handle over the next photographers who should come to bother him with their intrusiveness. Our two amateurs packed up their outfits and beat an ignominious retreat, going back to Philadelphia with temper ruffled and object unaccomplished.

A few days after this episode one of the twain, wishing to have some sport at our expense, suggested to the secretary of the Leopardville Camera Club the advisability of a trip to the adjoining county, and securing for him a set of negatives of the old landmark. We knew nothing of what happened, and consequently, owing to our innocence and unsophisticated nature, we unconsciously fell into the snare that our kind friend laid for us on the first fine day. We made an early start. We went merrily over hill and dale, not dreaming of trouble. When within half a mile of the church, we stopped at a roadside inn to water our horse and inquire our way. We remembered the hostler, who, while reigning up, caught a glance at our outfit. To our surprise, he broke out with, “Say, Mishter, vas you a fotegraf feller?” “Why?” we queried. “Vell, if you vas, tont go to der kärch up dere; der breecher letzt woch putty near broke zwei fotegraf feller’s het’s up.” Here was a revelation. Our nickel had been well invested. We made closer inquiries,–from the description, we at once recognized our friend from the Quaker City who had suggested our trip, and was no doubt chuckling in anticipation of a countryman’s discomfiture. After a few moments’ thought we continued on our way. We met the dominie, and when we got back to our home we had eight negatives, exteriors and interiors, in our satchel. In one of the latter the dominie appears in the quaint old pulpit. With our ten dollar outfit, by the use of civility, tact, and common sense, we had accomplished that in which our predecessors had so signally failed, mainly by not exercising the common civility due towards a stranger.

Another case which came under our notice but a few weeks ago: In an adjoining county there still exist several quaint old buildings, erected during the middle of last century by a religious community, and used by them until long after the Revolution. Owing to the curious architecture and proximity to a summer resort, the property is often overrun by visitors and sightseers, who run over the grounds, enter the houses, intrude on the privacy of the inmates, as if they had no rights of their own whatever, and in fact act as if the whole premises were public property. The custodian or trustee of the property is a plain country Dutchman, and keeps an especially sharp lookout for amateur photographers, as the religious sect to which he belongs frowns down portraiture of any kind. A few weeks ago a party of nine or ten persons, ladies and gentlemen, made a pilgrimage to the old settlement under the leadership of a well-known pulpit orator in Pennsylvania. Among the party were several amateur photographers. When the party arrived at the grounds they entered, without as much as asking permission, and at once made themselves at home within the premises regardless of the inmates. While the amateurs were setting up their cameras, the preacher was airing his knowledge of the religious doctrines of the community which flourished there in days gone by. While making these derogatory allusions, the party had been joined by a stranger,–it was the trustee, and who lost no time in introducing himself to the preacher. The two men were a study for an artist. The preacher, who prided himself on his fine physique, oratorial powers, and dignity, was the ideal picture of the petted fashionable preacher of the present day. The other, a man of medium height, bare-footed, unkempt; a straw-hat of last season’s growth, a shirt of unbleached muslin, a pair of overalls, which hung by a single “gallus,” completed his wardrobe; his language was pure and unalloyed Pennsylvania Dutch.

In appearance the two men as they faced each other were as diametrically opposite as the poles. The trustee, without any ceremony, asked the preacher what he was doing there; the latter, looking down at the speaker with contempt and scorn, and nettled at the interruption, curtly told him to attend to his own affairs. This was more than the trustee could stand, and he at once ordered the party to pack up and get out. This in turn was too much for the preacher; so, turning to the trustee, said, “My good fellow, you seem not to know whom you are addressing; I am the Rev. Dr. —-, of —- Church, in Philadelphia, and I wish you to understand that you are in the presence of ladies and gentlemen, and I would advise you to take yourself off without ado, as your presence here is unwarranted, uncalled for, and distasteful to the persons present as well as myself personally; and further, your appearance is hardly such as would be permitted within the circles in which the ladies present are in the habit of moving.” During this speech the trustee stood with mouth and eyes wide open. The others of the party nodded approval as their spiritual leader was delivering himself. One of the photographers was trying to train his camera on the countryman, who had for a few moments stood speechless. But it was only the calm before the coming storm. With a bound the trustee kicked over the tripod and camera; then, turning to the preacher in an unmistakable attitude, told him in his rich German English, that he was on private property, tramping down a growing grass crop, and if he and his crowd didn’t pack themselves off at once he would arrest and fine the party for trespassing. “But, my good fellow,” ventured the now crestfallen preacher. “Don’t speak to me!” was the retort. “You claim to be a gentleman; maybe you try to be at home. But if you were one, you would know better than coming with a crowd on another’s place, where you have no business, without even asking permission.” “But, my good man, we are willing to pay you if–” broke in the preacher. “We don’t want your money. All I want is for you to go and not bother us. Or do you want me to show you the way?” All this was said in the rich vernacular peculiar to the locality. There was no help; the trustee was on his own ground. So the party retreated and filed singly over the old stile into the road. It would be hard to say which of the party felt the sadder as they wended their way towards their conveyance, the crestfallen preacher or the Rittenhouse amateur with his shattered outfit.

This was but another instance where a little courtesy and politeness would have saved humiliation and photographic disappointment.

  1. Focus Snapschotte.


A Record in Development.–Many amateurs are so fidgety about their dark-room and its appendages that we describe, both for the benefit of the finic and also for “those who go down to the sea”–in trains, how an extemporized traveling dark-room was successfully used by a member of the newly founded Croydon Camera Club.

In case the railway superintendent should reprimand the guard who connived at the measures adopted, we must perforce suppress the gentleman’s name, the date, and the station where the train was joined.

About a fortnight ago Mr. X. ran down for the day to visit his friend Y., who dwells somewhere on the south coast, within about one and a half hour’s journey from Croydon. Mr. X. having exposed sixteen quarter-plates, Y. enquired of him when they would be developed. “To-night,” answered X., and added, “Perhaps before I get to Croydon.” Y. expressed incredulity, on which X. guaranteed that he would have all the plates developed before reaching his destination.

No previous preparation had been made, and the train started in forty minutes from the time of above conversation. A sheet of ruby paper, some drawing pins, some oiled paper, and a piece of Willesden waterproof paper, together with Beach’s developer, in two solutions, were procured. The guard was duly “tipped,” and a pail of water obtained from the engine-driver. Mr. X. being safely locked in a third-class compartment, the Willesden paper was made into a tray, with sides three inches deep, on account of the swaying of the train. The ruby paper was pinned over the carriage lamp, and the blinds carefully drawn. The night was, fortunately, a dark one. Most of the plates were shutter views; these were first developed, the developer being used for about three plates and then thrown away. The time views were subsequently developed, with a suitable modification in the proportions of developer. The plates were well rinsed in the pail of water, and while wet wrapped in oiled paper, and thus packed in the ordinary boxes in which they are sold; the object of using oiled paper being that it does not stick to the film when the latter is either dry or wet. The plates were all developed before Red Hill was reached; the fixing being deferred until arriving home.

The resulting negatives were not noticeably inferior to those which the same worker generally produces in his dark-room. We have before us a print of a wreck with fisher-boats “salving,” which is distinctly above the average skilled amateur work.

If so good a result is attained by adapting a railway carriage on the spur of the moment, even better could be done by pre-arranging to make use of the dreary time spent in traveling by night. The above tour de force is a strong argument in favor of those railway companies who run journeys of from five hours upwards, such as the Scotch express, providing a well-fitted but inexpensive dark-room. A luggage van might be converted, with an open compartment for workers to sit in when their “dark deeds” are done.

A pleasant vision is opened up of snap-shot views, taken from a railway carriage, and developed during the journey. Of course, plates need not be exposed while the train is “hurtling” along at seventy miles an hour; but in a, say, ten hours’ journey there are many stoppages and slackenings of speed which a member of the “wideawakes” could profitably utilize.–The Amateur Photographer”

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by Various



Orthoscopic Photography

Orthoscopic means giving an image in the correct and normal proportions.

Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“It is well-known that there are a large number of coal-tar color products, which have the property of causing an orthoscopic action on the ordinary sensitive dry plate, making the plate more sensitive for a certain color than the others; for instance, eosine is a superior sensibilator for green-yellow and yellow-green; cyanin, again, is especially sensitive for reds. Other products, such as rhodamin, cyclamin, methyl, violet, and others, generate in each instance an especial color sensitiveness.

While we have no deficiency in these mediums which answered for the greens and yellows, we have but few that answer for the various shades of red. Although Dr. Vogel has strongly recommended a mixture of chinolin red and chinolin blue (cyanin), the latter has two great drawbacks, viz., the salt is very dear, and does not keep. To overcome this difficulty I have instituted numerous experiments to replace the above with a more durable and cheaper medium. Among the various substances which I have tried, the mixture of indophenol and malachite green, has given me the most satisfactory results. Malachite green alone produces a strong sensibility to red, but the addition of the indophenol greatly enhances this sensibility.

In connection with the experiments with this solution, the interesting fact was observed that the sensibility for blue was greatly reduced in the brom-gelatine film, while green and yellow appeared in their true color values.

My proceeding is as follows:

(A.) Dissolve 0.1 g. indophenol (napthalin blue) in 500 ccm. alcohol.

(B.) Dissolve 1 g. malachite green in 200 ccm. water.

The latter solution is heated to about 70° c.

In the meantime, prepare a solution of 10 g. doppelt chrom sauris kadi in 100 ccm. water, at a temperature of 70 to 80°, then pour this to the hot solution of malachite green.

This mixture is kept hot for half an hour and then filtered, the precipitate which remains on the filter is now washed in several waters, and finally again dissolved in a solution of

Alcohol 250 ccm.
Chinin sulphate 0.8 g.

The latter is first dissolved in a little alcohol by heating, then the volume is added to until the amount is reached. The filtered fluid has a beautiful greenish-blue color. This forms the stock solution.

To sensitize the plates, make the following bath, pour in graduate:

Indophenal solution (as above) 4 ccm.
Malachite green (stock solution) 4 ccm.
Water (distilled) 600 ccm.

Pour 60 ccm. of this solution in a tray (13 by 18 cm.) cover the plates and soak 2 minutes, keeping the tray in constant motion. During the operation all red rays must be carefully excluded; then the plate is drained and dried in absolute darkness.

Plates so treated are much quicker than when in their normal condition. They give the reds in their true color value, even through an intensive yellow color screen. Even this extreme color sensibility can be enhanced with the use of a “supplementary-ray filter” (“Ergänzungs-Strahlen filter”), which is made from a substance which absorbs all colors except the reds and yellow. Gelatine, dyed by soaking in a erythrosin solution, furnishes an excellent Ergänzungs-Strahlen filter, which is used in connection with the usual yellow color screen”

Leon Vidal.

Source: Project Gutenberg
The American Journal of Photography by Various



Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by Various

“The drying of a photographic print after the final washings have been completed is a simple enough matter, and yet it is possible for the most exasperating failures to occur at this stage of the process; the disappointment experienced being all the more keen because the work is in a certain sense finished.

Those unacquainted with photographic neatness’s might easily imagine that all that was necessary was to take the print out of the water, and lay it aside in any convenient place to dry. They would soon find out, however, that if the substance with which the wet print came into contact were capable of communicating any impurity, the print would be sure to show in the form of stains. For instance, suppose that the prints were hung over wooden poles, or laid on wooden shelves while still wet, there would hardly be a possibility of escape from stains. This would be true in the case either of silver prints of any kind, bromides, or blue prints.

Silver prints on plain paper and blue prints are more manageable in drying than the other forms which are made on papers prepared with a contractile substance like gelatin or albumen. Supposing that the wooden poles or shelves before spoken of were covered with clean white linen or blotting paper, all those forms of prints having a plain surface might safely be dried there, but an albumen paper print would not do so well; if laid out flat on the shelf it would contract unequally, and be so crinkled and shrunken that there would be serious difficulty in trimming. Drying over the pole would be preferable, but the albumenized surface would be put on the stretch unequally, so that in the case of a highly glazed surface there would be fissures and cracks very detrimental to the finished result.

The best method of drying prints of all descriptions, and a very convenient and inexpensive one also, is the following: Provide a number of spring clothes-pins, a few yards of ordinary brass wire, and a couple of good-sized screw-eyes. Having selected a suitable place in the workroom where the prints will not be disturbed, screw in one of the screw-eyes to the wood of the window or door jamb at the height of the shoulder; pass one end of the brass wire into the eye and secure it, then string the clothes-pins on to the wire, and secure its other end by means of the other screw-eye at a convenient point across the room. Having brought the prints from the washing tank in an ordinary deep pan, select those of similar sizes, bring them together neatly, back to back, while in the water, then take them out and suspend the pair from one or more of the clothes-pins, according to the size of the prints. If they are very large, it may require three of the clothes-pins to fully support them, and avoid risk of the wet mass tearing by its own weight. While on the other hand, small sizes, such as 5×4 inches, may be held by a single pin. When the paper is very glossy, and the weather dry, the larger sizes may require to be pinched together at the bottom corners by an additional couple of clothes-pins, which will prevent the prints from separating until thoroughly dry.

Prints dried in the manner described will be quite flat, and free from stains of any kind. We need hardly add that the clothes-pins should be new and clean, and kept for this purpose only. If the prints are hung up to dry in the evening, they will be ready for trimming in the morning, when the end of the wire may be released, and the whole turned aside out of the way until the next occasion for use. If the wash-water is muddy, as is often the case, the deep pan in which the prints are transferred to the drying-room may be filled with clean filtered water, so that the collected mud in the paper may be soaked out before drying.

The warm weather we are now passing through reminds us of a few matters which have greatly eased our own labors in the printing-room, and simple as they are we will mention them.

It sometimes happens that there is trouble in securing pure whites in prints on albumen paper, an universal yellow stain covering everything. The best remedy for this is the use of alum in the printing bath, as originally suggested by the late Mr. Anthony, of New York. Care also must be taken that the paper is quite dry before being fumed. Operators are too apt to forget that as the thermometer rises, so does the amount of watery vapor in the air increase, and that sheets of paper will often dry more quickly on a bright day in winter than on many hot days in summer. The way the paper feels to the hand is the best guide, and some little attention is required to be able to tell accurately.

The question whether the strength of the silver bath should be reduced or not during warm weather is open to some discussion. If the paper be of first-class quality, and the bath contain alum, as before alluded to, it would be possible to continue making good prints having pure whites with the bath at full strength, by which we mean fifty to seventy grains to the ounce. There is no question of the fact that the sensitiveness of the prepared paper increases when floated on a strong bath, and that the compound which is then formed between the albumen and the silver is more prone to decomposition. It will occasionally happen, if the prints come out yellow, metallic-looking, and covered with minute black specks, that weakening the silver bath down to the strength of forty-five or even forty grains will cure the trouble. A strength of forty grains, however, we should consider a low one, and only to be resorted to for unusually hot weather or for particular kinds of paper, such as very thin and delicate Rives.

The paper should not be left in the fuming-box for too long a time in hot weather. If things are properly arranged for the purpose, ten to twelve minutes ought to suffice for thorough fuming. It is important, of course, that good strong ammonia be employed, and care should be taken that the glass stopper be well secured in the bottle. In a hot printing-room the stoppers of ammonia bottles are frequently blown out by the vapor and fall on the floor, leaving the contents of the bottle to lose strength rapidly.”

Ellerslie Wallace”

Source: Project Gutenberg
The American Journal of Photography by Various

Picture Pixabay



Extraction from The American Journal of Photography by J.F Sache- Written by Various

“Our illustration, “Folwell’s Washington,” is a profile of the one person characterized in our nation’s history as the “First in war, the first in peace, and the first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Our object in presenting this frontispiece to our readers for the current month is a two-fold one;–first, in view of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Photographic Association of America, which is to be held in Washington, August 12–15. The subject is a particularly appropriate one.

The original portrait was painted by Folwell, in 1795, while General Washington was in the presidential chair, for Col. William Washington, a kinsman of the General, and who in the year 1800, but a short time after the General’s death, presented the portrait to James Henry Stevens.

The following endorsement is written on the back of the picture: “Done 1795,–Presented to–James Henry Stevens, Esqr.,–by his friend Col.–Wm. Washington, Sept.-–9th, 1800–-Said to be a–Correct likeness from life of–His Excellency Gen’l–George Washington-–1st President of–the United–States of America.”

The original is now in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and is classed among what are known as “rare Washington portraits.” In Mr. Wm. S. Baker’s list, we find on page 109 the following notice regarding the portrait and the painter. “Samuel Folwell, 1795, miniature painter, of whom little is known, was practicing his art in Philadelphia, the latter part of last, and the beginning of the present century. The profile of Washington in possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, inscribed ‘S. Folwell, Pinxt, 1795,’ is said to have been taken upon a public occasion, the President being unaware of the fact. It is drawn on paper and solidly painted in India ink, with certain lights touched in, and as declared at the time is ‘certainly a most spirited and correct likeness.’ There is no engraving of this profile.”

In addition to this portrait by Folwell, there are in existence two regular silhouettes of Washington. One was taken by Samuel Powell, an ex-mayor of Philadelphia, by tracing on the wall a shadow thrown by an Argand lamp, which had just then been invented. This picture is now in the possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The other, a psaligraph, or silhouette cut with the scissors, by a Miss De Hart, of Elizabethtown, N. J., in 1783.

It will be noticed that the portrait belongs to the more advanced type of its class; viz.: where an attempt is made to introduce detail by the use of the brush.

Our other reason for reproducing this portrait is owing to the fact that the solid profile has of late again attracted considerable attention in photographic circles of Europe, and strange to say much difficulty seems to have been experienced in obtaining desirable results. As simple as the production of a solid profile seems to be (and is to us in America)–if we may credit our European exchanges–just so difficult has the process proved to some of the camera artists beyond the sea, as will be seen from the accounts here given.

On account of the extreme plainness and simplicity of the old silhouettes, we are too apt to pass them by as productions of but little or no artistic merit or value, overlooking the fact that the plain outline contour, in centuries past, was the germ from which emanated the arts of bas-relief and portraiture, the latter passing through all the various stages from the plain outline of the finished miniature, and these in their turn to be supplanted by photography of the present day.

There are two traditions that have come down to us from the dim ages past relating to this subject. One informs us that it occurred to an old Greek to follow the contour of a friend’s shadow with a piece of coal as it fell upon the white marble wall of the temple, thus permanently securing the outline of his friend’s features; from this incident is said to date the Greek School of Painting. Arkides, of Corinth, and Telephanes, of Sikyon, improved the process by filling out the space between the lines with a piece of coal or ruddle (an argillaceous iron ore), from thence the transition to pigments was an easy and natural one.

The other tradition, a still more pleasant one, would have us believe that about twenty-five hundred years ago there lived in the same city of Sikyon, in Greece, a modeler in clay by the name of Dibutades. He had a daughter Kora; he also had a young apprentice. As usual in these old tales, both were young and fair, and in the course of events vows of betrothal were exchanged. Shortly afterward, as the pair sat together, Kora suddenly seized a piece of coal from the brazier, and asking her betrothed to remain still, she traced upon the wall the outlines of the face which was so dear to her. It was an inspiration on the part of the Greek maiden, and so correct was the likeness that when old Dibutades saw it he recognized it at once, and thinking to please his daughter, he filled in the portrait with clay; the result was a bas-relief, the first that was ever made.

As crude as the silhouette appears, it certainly was the best process, prior to the advent of photography, to reproduce the features of persons; this applies, however, more to such as had a marked or prominent profile, the result almost always being a recognizable portrait, while in subjects with soft harmonic lines, especially female faces, the identification of the original by means of the silhouette, or profile, was more or less difficult. Yet there was a time, we will say in the century preceding the perfecture of Daguerre’s invention when the silhouette was popular and common as the carte or cabinet photo of the present day.

It was about the middle of the last century when the rage for profiles broke out in France. It is said the style was introduced by the Pompadour, then at the zenith of her power. Be that as it may, it struck the popular fancy, as it was a branch of portraiture which came within the reach of all classes. Paris was soon flooded with profile artists, and the black profiles became known as “à la Pompadour.” With the decline of her power, and the appointment of one Etienne de Silhouette as Minister of Finance, who on account of a system of retrenchment inaugurated by him had become an object of derision with the court favorites and the populace, a reaction set in; and so great a butt had the Minister become with the populace, that everything that savored of retrenchment, or was cheap, poor, or shopworn, was “à la Silhouette.” Our profiles, on account of their inexpensiveness, came under the same category, and strange to say thus immortalized, for all time to come, the name of the honest Minister of Finance.

Towards the end of the last century, the art of profile painting reached its highest development, of which our example is a good specimen. In our own country, the demand for these pictures was so great that a special machine was invented for the purpose of producing correct outlines in miniature. This apparatus was one of the features of Peale’s Museum, then in Independence Hall. The process was first to outline the shadow, then the machine was brought into play; this consisted of a tracer, which moved on a universal joint on the standard, the respective ends being adjustable as to length, so as to suit the required relative proportion between the shadow and the miniature copy. In using, one end of the tracer was caused to follow the line of the profile, while the other marked upon the paper which was presented in a frame. The paper was then removed, and the portrait cut out by the scissors. The silhouette portrait also came into vogue for book illustrations, and specimens from copperplates are frequently found in old volumes.

Towards the close of the last century, the silhouette for a time was superseded by pastel portraits. However, it was not long before the art was again in favor, and practiced by numerous artists. The brush, which had heretofore been almost exclusively used, was now supplemented by the knife or scissors, resulting in the art of “Psaligraphy,” in which the portrait was either cut out of glossy black paper and then pasted on a white card or the reverse, where the outline was cut with a knife from a sheet of white paper and then backed with a piece of silk, thus showing a black profile on a white ground. Specimens of the latter process are very rare, as it required an artist of no mean order for their execution.

Owing to the popularity of the silhouette it soon became elevated to the rank of meritorious art. Noteworthy among the exponents of this school we will mention the late Paul Konewka, Ströhl, and others, who produced effects of a surprising degree of naturalness in solid black. Half a century ago silhouettes of prominent persons, actors, danseuses, soldiers, orators, etc., were as common an article of commerce as the photograph of a professional beauty is at the present day.

The advent of photography eventually proved the death blow to the silhouette, as a picture with all the detail and expression was far preferable to the simple profile. Yet at first, in many cases, on account of poor posing or defective lighting, the photograph showed less similarity to the sitter than the well-executed silhouette. At the present day, with the great advances in photographic art, all necessity for the silhouette has ceased to exist, nor is there any special reason why that style of portraiture should be made by use of the camera, except as a pastime. Yet, strange to say, this subject has excited so much attention in Europe that it was made the special order of business at the April meeting of the Photographische Gesellschaft, in Vienna, where Herr Eisele, a prominent member, stated that he had experimented for the last two years in producing photographic silhouettes. Professor Luckhart and the artist Herr Schuer had also devoted much time to the subject without, however, succeeding as well as the first speaker.

The details of Herr Eisele’s experiments certainly make interesting reading for us on this side of the water. He states that at first, he covered a frame with tracing paper, then placed his principal between the sun and the screen, thus throwing a shadow on the paper. The camera was set up on the other side, so as to photograph this shadow, the lens, of course, pointed directly to the sun. He then made the attempt to shade the lens with an umbrella. He neglects to state how often he got the outline of the parapluie on his plate. Then he tried Blitz-Pulver-sitter, camera, and screen in the same position. Result as might have been foretold–a miserable failure.

Next, the screen was placed in a doorway with a bright light back of the screen. The subject was placed in front of the screen, the room darkened, the camera being placed in front of the sitter and screen. A Blitz-lamp exposure of five to six seconds was then made. The result-not a single specimen that equals our old silhouette. So much for our Viennese photographic cousins. In these great United States, we simply tack a piece of muslin in front of a window, place the subject directly in front, shut off all other light in the room, focus, fire, and develop. The result-a good sharp profile almost all the time.”

Julius F. Sachse.

Source: Project Gutenberg

The American Journal of Photography by J.F Sache


The Evolution of Photography

Photography, though young in years, is sufficiently aged to be in danger of having much of its early history, its infantile gambols, and vigorous growth, obscured or lost sight of in the glitter and reflection of the brilliant success which surrounds its maturity. Scarcely has the period of an average life passed away since the labours of the successful experimentalism began; yet, how few of the present generation of workers can lay their fingers on the dates of the birth, christening, and phases of the delightful vocation they pursue. Many know little or nothing of the long and weary travail the minds of the discoverers suffered before their ingenuity gave birth to the beautiful art-science by which they live. What form the infant art assumed in the earlier stages of its life; or when, where, and how, it passed from one phase to another until it arrived at its present state of mature and profitable perfection. Born with the art, as I may say, and having graduated in it, I could, if I felt so disposed, give an interesting, if not amusing, description of its rise and progress, and the many difficulties and disappointments that some of the early practitioners experienced at a time when photographic A B C’s were not printed; its “principles and practice” anything but familiarly explained; and when the “dark room” was as dark as the grave, and as poisonous as a charnel-house, and only occasionally illumined by the glare of a “bull’s-eye.” But it is not my intention to enter the domain of romance, and give highly coloured or extravagant accounts of  the growth of so beautiful and fascinating an art-science. Photography is sufficiently facetious in itself, and too versatile in its powers of delineation of scenes and character, to require any verbose effort of mine to make it attractive. A record of bare facts is all I aim at. Whatever is doubtful I shall leave to the imagination of the reader, or the invention of the romance writer. To arrange in chronological order the various discoveries, inventions, and improvements that have made photography what it is; to do honour to those who have toiled and given, or sold, the fruits of their labour for the advancement of the art; to set at rest, as far as dates can succeed in doing so, any questionable point or order of precedence of merit in invention, application, or modification of a process, and to enable the photographic student to make himself acquainted with the epochs of the art, is the extent of my ambition in compiling these records.

With the hope of rendering this work readily referable and most comprehensive, I shall divide it into four periods. The first will deal broadly and briefly with such facts as can be ascertained that in any way bear on the accidental discovery, early researches, and ultimate success of the pioneers of photography.

The second will embrace a fuller description of their successes and results. The third will be devoted to a consideration of patents and impediments; and the fourth to the rise and development of photographic literature and art. A strict chronological arrangement of each period will be maintained, and it is hoped that the advantages to be derived from traveling some of the same ground over again in the various divisions of the subject will fully compensate the reader, and be accepted as sufficient excuse for any unavoidable repetition that may appear in the work. With these few remarks I shall at once enter upon the task of placing before the reader in chronological order the origin, rise, progress, and development of the science and art of photography.

Source: Project Gutenberg –

The Evolution of Photography

by John Werge