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The Daguerreotype Process
( Originally Published 1849 )
The process of taking Daguerreotype pictures differs very materially from all others of the photographic art, inasmuch as the production of the image is effected upon plates of copper coated with silver. The silver employed should be as pure as possible; the thickness of the plate is of little consequence, provided there be sufficient silver to bear the cleaning and polishing--is free from copper spots, is susceptible of a high polish, an exquisitely sensitive coating and a pleasing tone. These qualities are possessed to an eminent degree by the French plates.
Having already enumerated the various processes--and the apparatus necessary for the manipulation, I will here give a list of the chemicals to be used, and then proceed to explain them more fully. The requisite chemicals are--
NITRIC ACID, ROUGE, DRY IODINE, MERCURY, DRYING POWDER, HYPOSULPHITE OF SODA, CYANIDE OF POTASSIUM, CHLORIDE OF GOLD; OR ROTTENSTONE, HYPOSULPHITE OF GOLD. TRIPOLI, CHLORIDE OF SILVER. CHLORIDE OF IODINE, } their compounds, or other BROMINE } accelerating mixtures.
FIRST OPERATION.--Cleaning and polishing the plate.-- For this purpose the operator will require the--
Nitric Acid, diluted in fifteen times its bulk of water
Galvanic Battery, to galvanize the plate, if it is too imperfect to be used without, previous cleaning it, as directed in the last chapter.
Tripoli, which is too often dispensed with.
Rouge, or lampblack--the first being most preferable. The English operators mix the two together.
Prepared cotton Wool, or Canton flannel. If the first is used, it should be excluded from the dust, as it is not so easily cleansed as the latter.
The plate is secured, with its silver side upward, to the block, by the means described on page 58--having previously turned the edges backward all around. The amount of cleaning a plate requires, depends upon the state it is in. We will suppose one in the worst condition; dirty, scratched, and full of mercury spots, all of which imperfections are more or less to be encountered. The mercury spots are to be removed by burning the plate. To do this hold the plate over the flame of a spirit lamp, more particularly under the mercury spots, until they, assume a dull appearance, when the lamp is to be removed, and the plate allowed to cool, after which it is attached to the block.
Place the block upon the swivle, and hold it firmly with the left hand; take a small knot or pellet of cotton, or, if you like it better, a small piece of canton flannel--wet it with a little diluted nitric acid; then sift some finely prepared rottenstone--Davie's,* if you can get it-- upon it, and rub it over the plate with a continual circular motion, till all traces of the dirt and scratches are removed; then wipe off the rottenstone with a clean piece of cotton, adopting, as before, a slight circular motion, at the same time wiping the edges of the plate. Even the back should not be neglected, but throughly cleansed from any dirt or greasy film it may have received from handling.
* Sold by E. Anthony.
When this is thoroughly accomplished, mix a portion of your tripoli with the dilute nitric acid, to the consistence of thick cream. Then take a pellet of cotton and well polish the plate with this mixture, in the same manner as with the rottenstone. Continue the process till, on removing the tripoli with a clean pellet, the plate exhibits a clear, smooth, bright surface, free from all spots, or scratches. Any remains of the acid on the plate may be entirely removed By sifting on it a little Drying powder, and then wiping it carefully off with a fine camels hair brush, or duster. The finishing polish is now to be given.
For this purpose the rouge--or a mixture of rouge and lamp-black, in the proportion of one part of the former to seven of the latter--is used. It should be kept either in a muslin bag, or wide mouth bottle, over which a piece of muslin is tied--in fact, both the rottenstone and tripoli should be preserved from the dust in the same manner. With a little of this powder spread over the buff--described on page 53-- the plate recieves its final polish; the circular motion is changed for a straight one across the plate, which, if intended for a portrait, should be buffed the narrow way; but if, for a landscape or view of a house, the length way of the plate.
The operation of cleaning the plate at first appears difficult and tedious, and many have been deterred from attempting this interesting art on that account; but, in reality, it is more simple in practice than in description, and with a little patience and observation, all difficulties are easily overcome. Great care must be taken to keep the buff free from all extraneous matter, and perfectly dry, and when not in use it should be wrapped up in tissue paper, or placed in a tight box.
The plate should be buffed immediately before the sensitive coating is given; particles of dust are thus effectually removed; the temperature of the plate is also increased by the friction, and the required tint more readily obtained.
SECOND OPERATION.--Applying the sensative coating.--The apparatus and chemicals required, are an
Iodine box--see fig. 14 page 53.
Bromine box--similar to the iodine box but a trifle deeper.
Bromine, or a compound of Bromine and Chloride of Iodine, or other sensitive mixture.
Most of our best operators use the compound Bromine and Chloride of Iodine. In the early days of the Daguerreotype, Iodine alone was used in preparing the plate, and although it still plays a very important part, other preparations, called accelerating liquids, quickstuff, &c., are used, and the discovery of which has alone ensured the application of the Daguerreotype successfully to portrait taking--for when first introduced among us it took from five to ten minutes to produce a tolerable good view, while now but the fraction of a minute is required to obtain an accurate likeness.
To iodize the plate perfectly it must be placed over the iodine vapor immediately after buffing. Scatter from a sixteenth to the eighth of an ounce of dry iodine over the bottom of your coating box, and slightly cover it with cotton wool. The plate is then dropped into the frame b, fig. 12, with its silvered surface downward, and thrust under the lid h. The bright surface of the plate is soon coated with a film of iodine of a fine yellow color; it is then removed and placed over the accelerating solution. It is not absolutely necessary to perform this operation in the dark, although a bright light should be avoided. Not so the next part of the process, viz; giving the plate its extreme sensitiveness, or coating with the accelerating liquids. In this great caution should be used to prevent the slightest ray of light impringing directly on the plate, and in examining the color reflected light should always be used. A convient method of examining the plate, is to make a small hole in the partition of the closet in which you coat, and cover it with a piece of tissue paper; by quickly turning the plate so that the paper is reflected upon it the color is very distinctly shown. Most of our operators are not so particular in this respect as they should be.
ACCELERATING LIQUID.--Of these there are several kinds, which differ both in composition and action--some acting very quickly, others giving a finer tone to the picture although they are not so expeditious in there operations; or in other words, not so sensitve to the action of light. These are adopted by Daguerreotypists according to their tastes and predjudices. They are all applied in the same way as the coating of iodine. The following are the best.
Bromine water--This solution is much used in France, and, I shall therefore give its preparation, and the method of using it, in the words of M. Figeau. "Put into a bottle of pure water, a large excess of bromine; shake the mixture well, and before using it, let all the bromine be taken up. An ascertained quantity of this saturated water is then diluted in a given quantity of distilled water, which gives a solution of bromine that is always identical." M. Figeau recommends one part of the saturated solution to thirty parts its bulk of water; but M. Lesebour finds it more manageable if diluted with forty times. In case pure distilled, or rain water cannot be procured, a few drops of nitric acid--say six to the quart-- should be added to the common water.
Put into the bromine box a given quantity of this solution, sufficient to well cover the bottom; the plate, having been iodized to a deep yellow, is placed over it; the time the plate should be exposed must be ascertained by making a few trials; it averages from twelve to forty seconds. When once ascertained, it is the same for any number of plates, as the solution, which of course would become weaker and weaker, is changed after every operation, the same quantity being always put into the pot.
Chloride of Iodine.--This is prepared by introducing chlorine gass into a glass vessel containing iodine; the iodine is liquified, and the above named compound is the result. Operators need not, however, be at the trouble and expense of preparing it, as it can be obtained prefectly pure of Mr. Anthony, 205 Broadway, N. Y., as also all of the chemicals herein enumerated. The compound is diluted with distilled water, and the plate submitted to its action till it is of a rose color. Chloride of iodine alone, is seldom if ever used now by American operators, as it does not sufficiently come up to their locomotive principle of progression. The next is also eschewed by the majority, although many of our best artists use no other, on account of the very fine tone it gives to pictures.
Bromide of Iodine.--This is a compound of bromine and chloride of iodine. In mixing it, much depends upon the strength of the ingredients; an equal portion of each being generally used. Perhaps the best method of preparing it, is to make a solution in alcohol of half an ounce of chloride of iodine, and add the bromine drop by drop, until the mixture becomes of a dark red color; then dilute with distilled water, till it assumes a bright yellow. Put about half an ounce of this compound into the pot, and coat over it to a violet color, change the solution when it becomes too weak to produce the desired effect.
Another.--Mix half an ounce of bromine with one ounce of chloride of iodine, add two quarts pure distilled water, shake it well and let it stand for twelve hours then add twenty-five drops of muriatic acid, and let it stand another twelve hours, occasionally shaking it up well. Dilute six parts of this solution in sixteen of water. Coat over dry iodine to a deep yellow, then over the sensitive to a deep rose color-- approaching purple--then back, over dry iodine from four to eight seconds.
Roach's Tripple Compound.--This is one of the very best sensitive solutions, and is very popular among Daguerreotypists. To use this, take one part in weight, say one drachm, of the compound and dilute it with twelve of water; coat over dry iodine to yellow, then over the compound to a rosy red. The effect in the camera is quick, and produces a picture of a fine white tone.
Gurney's Sensitive.--This is another preparation of bromine, and gives a fine tone. To two parts of water add one of the sensitive, and put just sufficient in the box to cover the bottom, or enable you to coat in from eight to ten seconds. Coat over dry iodine to a dark yellow, and over the quick till you see a good change, then back over the dry iodine from two to three seconds.
Bromide of Lime, or Dry Sensitive.--This is a compound but recently introduced, and is becoming somewhat of it favorite, owing principally to the slight trouble it gives in its preparation, and the tone it imparts to the picture. To prepare it, fill your jar about half or quarter full of dry slacked lime, then drop into it bromine, till it becomes a bright orange red. The plate is generally coated over this compound, after the iodine coating to yellow, to a violet, or plum color; but it will work well under any circumstances, the color being of little consequence, if coated from thirty to ninety seconds, according to its strength.
Mead's Accelerator.--I merely mention this as being in the market, not knowing any thing in regard to its merits. The directions given for its use are as follows: Mix one-third of a bottle with a wine glass full of water, coat the plate over dry iodine to a dark gold color, then over the accelerator to a violet, then back over dry iodine, or chloride of iodine, from three to five seconds.
Chloride of Bromine.--M. Bissou, a French experimentalist, has found that bromine associated with chlorine, prepared in a similar manner to chloride of iodine, already described, a solution of bromine being substituted for the iodine, is a very sensitive solution; by means of it daguerreotype proofs are obtained in half a second, and, thus very fugitive subjects are represented, making it the very best compound for taking children. So quick is its operation, that even persons or animals may be taken in the act of walking.
Hungarian Liquid.--This, I believe, has never been used here, or imported into this country, and the composition of it is not generally known, even in Europe, where it has taken precedence of all others. It acts quickly and with considerable certainty. It is used by diluting it with from ten to fifteen times its bulk of water, putting a sufficient quantity into the jar to cover the bottom. The plate being previously iodized to a light yellow, is submitted to this mixture till it assumes a light rose tint.
Bromine and Fluoric Acid, in combination, are used by some Daguerrean artists as a sensitive, but any of the above compounds are better; besides this, the fluoric acid is a dangerous poison, and the quick made from it will not repay the risk to the health in using it.
As I have before said, great caution should be observed in examining the color of the plate, even by the feeble light allowed, which, when attained, must be immediately placed in the holder belonging to the camera and covered with the dark slide. You then pass to the
THIRD OPERATION.--Submitting the Plate to the action of Light in the Camera.--Experience alone must guide the operator as to the time the plate should be exposed to the influence of the light; this being dependent on a variety of circumstances, as clearness of the atmosphere-- and here, a reference to the hygrometer will be of advantage-- time of day, object to be taken, and the degree of sensitiveness imparted to the plate by the quickstuff. As I have before said, the artist should be careful to see that the interior of the camera is clean and free from dust, as the small particles flying about, or set in motion by the sliding of the holder into the box, attach themselves to the plate, and cause the little black spots, by which an otherwise good picture is frequently spoiled. Care should also be taken in withdrawing the dark slide, in front of the plate, from the holder, as the same effect may be produced by a too hasty movement. The lens is the last thing to be uncovered, by withdrawing the cap c. fig. 5., which should not be done until you have placed the sitter in the most desirable position. When, according to the judgment and experience of the operator, the plate has remained long enough to receive a good inpression, the cap is replaced over the lens, and the dark slide over the plate, which is then removed from the camera.
Daguerreotypists generally mark time by their watches, arriving at the nearest possible period for producing a good picture by making several trials. As a ready method of marking short intervals of time is, however, a very important consideration, and as any instrument which will enable an artist to arrive at the exact period, must be an improvement, and worthy of universal adoption, I will here describe one invented by Mr. Constable of England, which he calls a
Sand Clock, or Time Keeper.--"It consists of a glass tube, about twelve inches long, by one in diameter, half filled with fine sand, similar to that used for the ordinary minute glasses, and, like them, it has a diaphram, with a small hole in the centre through which the sand runs. The tube is attached to a board which revolves on a centre pin; on the side is a graduated scale, divided into half seconds; the tube is also provided with a moveable index. This instrument is attached, in a conspicuous place, to the wall. The glass tube being revolved on its centre, the index is set to the number of half seconds required, and the sand running down, the required time is marked without the possibility of error. In practice it will be found to be a far more convenient instrument for the purpose than either a clock or a seconds watch, and is applicable both for the camera and mercury box."
If the artist finds it desirable or necessary to take the object to be copied in its right position, that is reverse the image on the spectrum, he can do so by attaching a mirror (which may be had of Mr. Anthony, or Mr. Roach) to the camera tube, at an angle of forty-five degrees.
If, after taking the plate from the camera, it be examined, no picture will yet be visible, but this is brought about by the
FOURTH PROCESS.--Bringing out the Picture, or rendering it Visible.-- We now come to the use of the mercury bath, Fig. 11. To the bath a thermometer is attached, to indicate the proper degree of beat required, which should never be raised above 170 deg. Fahrenheit. The plate maybe put into one of the frames (see Fig. 11,) over the mercury, face downwards, and examined from time to time, by simply raising it with the fingers, or a pair of plyers. This operation, as well as the others, should take place in the dark closet. [hipho 26.gif] Sometimes, to prevent the necessity of raising the plate, an additional cover or top is made use of. It consists of a box fitted closely to the inner rim of the bath, and having an inclined top (a, Fig. 27.) The top is cut through and fitted with frames for each size of plate, like those already described, and in the back is a piece of glass (b,) through which to view the progress of mercurialization, and an additional piece (c,) on one side, colored yellow, to admit the light. The outline only of the top is here given, in order to show every portion of it at one view.
The picture, being fully developed, is now taken out and examined; it must not, however, be exposed to too strong a light. If any glaring defects be perceived, it is better not to proceed with it, but place it on one side to be re-polished; if, on the contrary, it appears perfect, you may advance to the
FIFTH OPERATION.--Fixing the Image so that the light can no longer act upon it.--The following articles are required for this purpose:
Two or three porcelain or glass dishes, in form, something like fig. 24.
A plate support, fig. 25. Few, I believe, now make use of this, although it is a very convenient article.
Hyposulphite of Soda,
A pair of Plyers.
In Europe, they also use a drying apparatus, Fig. 27, but this, like the plate support, [hipho 27.gif] is a matter of little consequence, and may be dispensed with. I will, however, describe it, for the benefit of those who may wish to use it.
A vessel made of copper or brass, tinned inside, and large enough to take in the largest plate, but not more than half an inch wide, is the most convenient. It must be kept perfectly clean. Hot distilled water is poured into it, and the temperature kept up by a spirit lamp.
Hyposulphite of Soda.--Having made a solution of hyposulphite of soda, and well filtered it--the strength is immaterial; about half an ounce of the salt to a pint of distilled water is sufficient--pour it into one of the porcelain dishes, put into another plain, and into a third distilled water. Immerse the plate with its face downwards into the hyposulphite, and the whole of the sensitive is removed, and the light has no farther action upon it; it is then to be removed from the hyposulphite and plunged into the plain water, or placed upon the support, fig. 25, and the water poured over it. It is then washed in a similar manner with the distilled water and well examined, to see that not the slightest particle of dust rests on the suface. The next step is to dry it.
This may be readily accomplished by holding the plate with your plyers, and pouring distilled water over it--if it is hot, so much the better. Apply the spirit lamp to the back, at the corner held by the plyers, at the same time facilitating the operation with the breath; pass the lamp gradually downwards, finishing at the extreme corner. The last drop may now be removed by a little bibulous paper. A single drop, even, of distilled water allowed to dry on any part of the surface, is certain to leave a stain which no after process can remove.
To illustrate the necessity for having perfectly clean water, and free from all foreign matter--only to be avoided by using that which is distilled-- in these processes, I will relate a little anecdote.
An operator in this city (New York) frequently made complaint to me, that his plates were occasionally very bad; coming out all over in little black and white spots and spoiling many very good pictures, regretting at the same time that perfect plates were not made, for he had lost many customers in consequence of these defects. These complaints being somewhat periodical, I suggested that the fault might be in the hyposulphite, or chloride of gold solutions, or particles of dust floating about in the room, and not in the plate.
A few days after he stated, that his plates having served him again in the same way, he procured a fresh supply of hyposulphite of soda and chloride of gold, but after applying them the result was no better. He then, by my advice, thoroughly cleaned his wash dishes, bottles and water pail, made fresh solutions and had no further trouble, becoming satisfied that the plates suffered an undue share of censure.
SIXTH PROCESS.--Gilding the Picture.--This is an improvement the honor of which is due to M. Figeau, and may take place either before the drying process, or at any subsequent period; but it improves the picture so materially that it should never be neglected. The articles necessary for gilding are--
A Pair of Plyars; or a Gilding Stand (see fig. 19) and Chloride of Gold; or Hyposulphite of Gold.
The latter is imported by Mr. E. Anthony, 205 Broadway, New York, and is decidedly the best article for the purpose. One bottle simply dissolved in a quart of water will make a very strong solution, and gives a richness to the picture impossible to be obtained from the chloride of gold. The process is precisely similar to that described below for chloride of gold, taking care to cease the moment the bubbles are well defined over the surface of the plate. Many Daguerreotypists, after a superficial trial, discard the hyposulphite of gold as inferior; but I have no hesitation in asserting that the fault lies with themselves; for in every case within my knowledge, where its use has been persisted in until the correct method has been ascertained and the nature of the gilding has become familiar, it is always preferred. In illustration of this fact I will relate an anecdote:
A gentleman to whom it had been recommended, purchased a bottle, and after making one or two trials of it, wrote to his correspondent--"Send me two bottles of chloride of gold, for I want no more of the hyposulphite; it is good for nothing." A few weeks after he sent for three bottles of the condemned article, confessing that be had found fault unnecessarily; for, that since he had become familiar to its use, he must acknowledge its superiority, and would use no other gilding.
The Solution of Chloride of Gold is prepared by dissolving in a pint of distilled water, fifteen grains of chrystalized chloride of gold. This solution will be of a yellow tint. In another pint of distilled water dissolve fifty-five grains of hyposulphite of soda; pour gradually, in very small quantities, the gold into the hyposulphite of soda, stirring the solution at intervals; when finished the mixture should be nearly colorless.
Place the plate on its stand, or hold it in the plyers, in a perfectly horrizontal position--silver surface upward--having previously slightly turned up the edges, so that it may hold the solution. Wet the surface with alcohol, letting any superfluous quantity drain off. The alcohol is of no farther use than to facilitate the flowing of the gold mixture over the surface. Now pour on, carefully, as much of the preparation of gold as will remain on the plate. The under part of the plate is then to be heated as uniformly as possible with the spirit lamp; small bubbles will arrise, and the appearance of the portrait or view very sensibly improved. The process must not be carried too far, but as soon as the bubbles disappear the lamp should be removed, and the plate immersed in distilled water, and dried as before directed.
7th. COLORING THE PICTURE.--I very much doubt the propriety of coloring the daguerreotypes, as I am of opinion, that they are little, if any, improved by the operation, at least as it is now generally practised.
There are several things requisite in an artist to enable him to color a head, or even a landscape effectively, and correctly, and I must say that very few of these are possessed by our operators as a class. These requirements are, a talent for drawing--taste--due discrimination of effect--strict observance of the characteristic points in the features of the subject--quick perception of the beautiful, and a knowledge of the art of mixing colors, and blending tints.
The method now pursued, I do not hesitate to say, and have no fears of being contradicted by those capable of critisizing is on the whole ruinous to any daguerreotype, and to a perfect one absolutely disgusting. The day may come when accurate coloring may be obtained in the camera. Until that day, if we cannot lead taste into the right channel, we will endeavor to give such instructions that Daguerreotypists may proceed with this part of his work with a better understanding of the principles involved. For this purpose I have prepared a short chapter on the art of coloring, which may be found in the latter part of this volume.
To Preserve Daguerreotypes they must be well sealed and secured in a case, or frame. These, of course, are selected according to the taste of the customer, the principal requisite being good glass. Most Daguerreotypists prefer the white French plate glass--and many think, very erroneously, that none is good unless it is thick-- but the great desideratum is clearness and freedom from blisters; even glass a little tinged with green or yellow is to be preferred to the French plate when cloudy or blistered and there is very little of it comes to this market that is not so. It is to be hoped that some of our glass factories will manage to manufacture an article expressly for daguerreotypes; and I would recommend them to do so, for they would find it quite an item of profit annually.
Before enclosing the picture in the case you should be careful to wipe the glass perfectly clean, and blow from the picture any particles of dust which may have fallen upon it. Then take strips of sticking paper, about half or three quarters of an inch wide, and firmly and neatly secure it to the glass, having first placed a "mat" between them to prevent the plate being scratched by the glass.
TO MAKE SEALING PAPER.--Dissolve one ounce of gum arabic, and a quarter of an ounce of gum tragicanth in a pint of water; then add a teaspoonful of benzoin. Spread this evenly on one side of good stout tissue paper; let it dry, and then cut it up in stripes, about half or three quarters of an inch wide, for use. If it becomes too soft for summer use, add gum arabic; if too hard and cracking, add benzoin or gum tragicanth; if it gets too thick, add water.
COLORED DAGUERREOTYPES ON COPPER.--To effect this, take a polished plate of copper and expose it to the vapor of iodine, or bromine, or the two substances combined; or either of them in combination with chlorine. This gives a sensitive coating to the surface of the plate, which may then be submitted to the action of light in the camera. After remaining a sufficient time in the camera, the plate is taken out and exposed to the vapor of sulphuretted hydrogen. This vapor produces various colors on the plate, according to the intensity with which the light has acted on the different parts; consequently a colored photographic picture is obtained. No further process is necessary as exposure to light does not effect the picture.
By this process we have an advantage over the silvered plate, both in economy, and in the production of the picture in colors.
INSTANTANTANEOUS PICTURES BY MEANS OF GALVANISM.--It will be seen by the following valuable communication that galvanism can be successfully applied in producing pictures instantly; a process of great importance in securing the likeness of a child, or in taking views of animated nature. Colonel Whitney informs me that he once took a view of the steeple of the St. Louis Court House after sundown by this means) and also secured the image of a man in the act of stepping into a store, and before he had time to place his foot, raised for that purpose, on the door step. Mr. Whitney is well known as the talented editor of the Sunday Morning news.
New York, January 16, 1849. Mr. H. H. SNELLING.
Dear Sir,--As you are about publishing a history of the Daguerreotype, and request a description of my mode of taking pictures instantaneously by the aid of galvanism, I comply with great pleasure.
In the year 1841, while practicing the art in St. Louis, Mo., I was at times, during the summer, much troubled with the electric influence of the atmosphere, especially on the approach of a thunder-storm. At such times I found the coating of my plates much more sensitive than when the atmosphere was comparatively free from the electric fluid, and the effect was so irregular that no calculation could counteract the difficulty. This satisfied me that electricity was in some measure an important agent in the chemical process, and it occurred to me that the element might be turned to advantage. I determined, therefore, to enter on a series of experiments to test my theory. Finding it impossible to obtain an electric machine, and unwilling to abandon the examination, it occurred to me, that the galvanic influence might answer the same purpose. I therefore proceeded to make a galvanic battery in the following simple manner. I obtained a piece of zinc about two inches long, one inch wide, and an eighth of an inch thick. On this I soldered a narrow strip of copper, about six inches long, the soldered end laid on one side of the zinc, and extending its whole length. The battery was completed by placing the zinc in a glass tumbler, two-thirds full of dilute sulphuric acid, strong enough to produce a free action of the metals. The upper end of the copper slip extending above the tumbler was sharpened to a point, and bent a little over the glass.
The method of using, was thus:--After preparing the plate in the usual manner and placing it in the camera, in such manner as to expose the back of the plate to view, the battery was prepared by placing the zinc in the acid, and as soon as the galvanic fluid began to traverse (as could be known by the effervessence of the acid, operating on the zinc and copper) the cap of the camera was removed, and the plate exposed to the sitter; at the same instant the point of the battery was brought quickly against the back of the plate, and the cap replaced instantly. If the plate is exposed more than an instant after the contact the picture will generally be found solarized. By this process I have taken pictures of persons in the act of walking, and in taking the pictures of infants and young children I found it very useful. Very respectfully yours, THOMAS R. WHITNEY.