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British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1866

From George Eastman House : Notes On Photographs

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Edited by J. Traill Taylor

During the year 1865 progress of the most satisfactory nature has been made in the various departments of photography- in its chemical, optical mechanical, artistic, and manipulative relations. As so many details in connection with these branches will be found throughout this work, no excuse need here be offered for making the present Summary a mere glance at some of the many interesting features brought under the notice of photographers during the past twelve months.

Among the chief chemical features of interest may be adducted a method of conferring density on negatives by “dyeing” the image a scarlet colour by means of Shipper’s salt. This method of intensification has been tried by us with much advantage, particularly for densifying negatives of engravings, also for photolithographic and similar purposes. For this as well as for a new developer in which an organic substance is combined with protosulphate of iron, we are indebted to Mr. M Carey Lea, the talented American correspondent of the British Journal of Photography. This developer possesses important advantages for those who, by means of their ordinary chemicals, are unable to obtain negatives of the density requisite for the production of vigorous prints. Oxygen is largely made use of by photographers, not only for exhibiting their views by means of the magic lantern, but more particularly in connection with the lime light, now so generally employed in the production of enlarged photographs. Some explosions which have occurred in the process of its manufacture have been traced to the oxide of manganese being contaminated with carbon. The knowledge of the source of the evil at once indicates the cure. Magnesium has been much used in the production of portraits by artificial light. The excellent lamps at present employed for its combustion are about to encounter a rival in which the metal is used in the form of filings mixed with sand. This mixture escapes through a regulated orifice, and, being ignited when falling from the end of an inclined tube, it continues to burn as long as the supply is kept up. The rectified wood of naphtha of Mr. Eschwege, of Battersea, has been found to be a solvent of properly-prepared pyroxyline to a degree not inferior to sulphuric ether, it may reasonably be expected to prove advantageous to photographers, if the Excise restrictions which at present fetter its manufacture be removed. Of late, the mixing of sensitive substances with collodion and gelatin has received much attention. The amount of success which has attended this method of practice has been considerable. Printing by means of the nitrates of uranium and silver in a collodion vehicle (Wothlytype) has been brought to aright state of perfection, and so have the somewhat similar processes of mixing chlorine of silver with collodion and gelatine, more especially for the printing on opal glass. The use of gelatine as a medium for the reception of the chlorine has been introduced during the past year; and, in the same direction, Mr. Palmer has succeeded in mixing gelatine with the nitrate of silver bath employed in ordinary printing operations, brilliant prints being produced by weak silver solutions when in combination with gelatine.

Several important features of novelty have been introduced during the year in connection with systems of printing which are not dependent on the salts of silver. A method do aniline printing has been discovered and perfected by Mr. Willis. In this process a thirty-grain solution of bichromate of ammonia, to which has been added a drachm (more of less) of phosphoric acid, is brushed over the paper, which is exposed under a transparency for about one-fourth of the time required in silver printing. The print is developed by exposing it to the vapour arising for a solution of commercial aniline in benzole (one drachm of the former in tow ounces of the latter). When developed, washing in plain water acidulated with sulphuric acid, followed by rinsing, completes the process. The important processes of Messrs. Woodbury and Swan, in which the finest gradation is obtained for a metal plate, are likely to revolutionize photographic printing as applied to book illustration, or the production of photographs in quantity. The large carbon prints, which have during the year been produced by Mr. Swan, show that he has so far perfected his carbon process as to compete successfully with silver prints of the finest quality and of the largest size. A simple method of producing very delicate and beautiful prints has been introduced by Mr. Burgess under the designation of “eburneum” attentions to the working details of which (to be found in another page) will amply repay the experimentalist. The colodiobromide process of Messrs. Sayce and Bolton has had its capabilities so fully developed, and its conditions of success so well investigated, by these gentlemen as to leave no doubt that, during the ensuing summer, it will be much used. Our own success, both with a specimen of the collodio-bromide received from Mr. Sayce and Bolton has had its capabilities so fully developed, and its conditions of success so well investigated, by these gentlemen as to leave no double that, during the ensuing summer it will be much used. Our own success, both with a specimen of the collodio-bromide received from Mr. Sayce and from some, which we have made for a formula by Mr. Golton, has been most marked and gratifying. Successful negatives may now be obtained with out a nitrate bath.

The glowing desire of photographs to increase the angle of view in their pictures has been met with a decided response on the part of the opticians, who are not construction lenses with more than former attention to the transmission of extremely oblique pencils. The British journal of Photography contains full descriptions of the several optical productions which have conducted which have conduced to so great an extent in conferring value upon many of the photographs of the past year. Lenses of the highest excellence for portraits, groups, architecture, copying, and general landscapes are now easily attainable. We may allude, in passing, to the high degree of success which has attended to the pantascopic camera, by means of which views in panoramic projection are now obtained rivaling in sharpness of delineation those by a stationary lens. Any glance at the optical pregress of the year would be incomplete were we to omit all allusion to the valuable chapters on the stereoscope and on photographic optics which have been contributed by Mr. R.H. Bow, of Edinburgh, who has shown such intimacy with even the most abstruse branches of this subject as to constitute him one of the highest authorities in optical science.

The honourable rivalry and spirit of competition which exist among our camera-makers form, perhaps, the surest guarantee that the interests of photographers are quite safe in their hands, and that in the future, as in time past, they will still maintain their proud position of being pre-eminent over all similar craftsmen in the world.

With the best apparatus and chemicals, combined with even the highest manipulative still, artistic pictures cannot be produced without refined taste. It augurs well for the future of our art-science that many photographers are actively bestirring themselves to acquire a sound knowledge of the correct principles of art; and one society (the South London Photographic Society) has inaugurated a movement which we hope to see generally followed by others, viz., the establishment of an art-library, so that its members may aim at being not merely photographers but photographic artists.

The preceding are but few of the many indication of photographic progress during the past year, which we hope are an earnest of even greater advances to be made during the year on which w are now entering.