log in helplinksabout



Print Room




British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1898

From George Eastman House : Notes On Photographs

Jump to: navigation, search

Edited by Thomas Bedding, F.R.P.S.

ONE of the features of the past year has been the great development of animated photography, which forms the subject of the editorial article that follows this summary. This development has been so marked as to give an unmistakable impetus to several branches of photographic industry-notably celluloid film and apparatus manufacture. We have every confidence that still further developments await this department of photography.

Colour Photography

Colour photography in the earlier part of the year attracted no inconsiderable amount of notice, but the actual progress there is nothing to record. Mr. Bennetto, in the spring, showed by projection a number of transparencies in natural colours, which excited much admiration and discussion; but the process was not revealed, and at the time of wiring noting whatever is known of it. In February a process due to Messrs. Dansac & Chassagne was introduced. The results, in the forms of both of transparencies and albumen paper prints, were put forward as natural colour effects obtained by what was alleged to be selective colour absorption –that is to say, the surface of the transparency or print was understood to be treated with a special solution which imparted to it the property, when red, green, and blue solutions are applied to it, of selection the colours of the original in their proper order and relation. Notwithstanding the association of the names of some eminent men with the process, and the attempt to publicly demonstrate that it really was what it was alleged to be, there has been a complete failure to substantiated the claims that were made for it, and it is generally agreed that the Dansac-Chassagne process of natural-colour photography was simply a method of colouring prints with aniline compounds. On its merits the subject is not entitled to a more extended reference here, and those who require further details of a by now means satisfactory chapter in the chequered history of colour photography are referred to the volume of THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY for 1897, wherein the Dansac-Chassagne process receives considerable attention in detail.

Halation-Radiography-Acetylene, &c.

Halation and the backing of plates is a subject to which practical photographers have addressed themselves with great interest during the year, and in the section of the ALMANAC headed “Practical Notes and Experiences of the Year’ the reader will find a great deal of information bearing on the various preparation advocated for application to the glass slides of plates. Some of the dry-plate makers now send out plates ready backed with anti-halative substances that are removable without difficulty.

Radiography has failed to sustain its interest among photographers, although it is still a subject of unremitting experiment and investigation amongst chemists and physicists. In hospital, medical, and surgical practice, however, it is of enormous value ,and it appears probable that , as an adjunct of the healing art, Professor Röntgen’s discovery will long be gratefully recognised. It is interesting to note that Foreign Custom House officials are stated to find the X rays directly serviceable in the examination of travelers’ luggage, &c.

The action of the Home Office in placing calcic carbide under the provision s of the Explosives Act, early in the year, threw a check on the progress of acetylene as a photographic illuminant, but the regulation has been modified to the extent of permitting small quantities of the carbide to be stored, and , with the insurance offices disposed to take a less unfavourable view of the danger of the new light, there is hope that the full possibilities of the light for projection and general work will, in due course, be availed of.

General Photography

In the spring of 1898 the Royal Photographic Society propose holding, at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, a great International Photographic Exposition, which shall be fully representative of the present position of photography in all its aspects. There is every indication that the Exhibition will be will supported. The half-tone and three-colour block processes appear to be gaining in public favour, and steady advances are apparent in the qualities of the results. With regard to ordinary photographic work, practically no change has to be chronicled. Glass as the favourite support for gelatino-bromide emulsion does not appear likely to be soon displaced, although several substitutes have been introduced. Anastigmatic flat-fielded lenses of large aperture are daily coming into greater use, and are gradually displacing older and less efficient forms.

With few exceptions, representative institutions in photography continue to widen their sphere of action. The Royal Photographic Society is steadily increasing its membership, and , under the Presidency of the Earl of Crawford, is pursuing a policy of usefulness to the cause of photographic progress. The Photographic Convention and the Photographic Copyright Union have records of successful effort to show for the past year of their existence. A reference to the directory of photographic Societies will show that these useful bodies have not decreased in number , and there appears to be no doubt that the hold which photography gas secured upon the public as a pursuit and pastime is not slackening.

Due chiefly to the energy of Sir J. Benjamin Stone, M. P., there has been established a National Photographic Record Association, the object of which is to collect photographic records of objects and scenery of interest throughout the British Isles with a view of deposition them in the British Museum, where they may be safely stored and be accessible to the public under proper regulations.

The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty led to considerable photographic activity, although, in common with many other industries, photography was said to have suffered form the great displacement of thread which that historical event induced; but, on the whole, form whatsoever point it may be regarded, photography in 1897 exhibited unmistakably progressive tendencies, and the outlook for 1898 is distinctly encouraging and symptomatic of continued progress.


The losses by death to the photographic fraternity during the past year have been unusually heavy, and some well-known names have been removed. They include the following:-

Edgar Pickard the Thornton-Pickard Manufacturing Co.) (April 2, 1897) Napoleon Sarony (of New York).
F. W. Edwards (October 16, 1897) P. Meagher (May 8, 1897)
George Dawson (July 11, 1897) R. Kennett (December 4, 1986)
T. C. Turner (November 20, 1898) W. H. Harrison (August 10, 1897)
M. Carey Lea (April, 1897
W. H. Harrison

Mr. Harrison began life in the employ of the Great Western Railway in the Telegraph Department at Paddington. In 1865 he commenced writing for the Engineer. In 1868 he communicated to THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY a remarkable paper describing his discovery of a bromide emulsion dry plate, and also the use of an alkaline developer. In later years he was for some time editor of the Photographic News, and contributed to other photographic journals. As a writer on scientific subjects, photography, engineering, and chemical industries were treated by him in a broad and comprehensive manner, especially those which had any application to photography; and lectures upon chemistry and experimental physics at the Royal Institution and other scientific bodies, both English and foreign, were never lost sight of.

George Dawson

The late George Dawson, at the time of his death, was in his seventy-seventh year, and will be remembered by reason of his long association with King’s College, in the capacity of Professor of Photography. He was formerly one of the editors of THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY and was joint author, with the late Thomas Sutton, of The Dictionary of Photography. He also edited one of the earlier editions of Hardwich’s Photographic Chemistry.

P. Meagher

Mr. Meagher ha been engaged in the production of photographic cameras for about half a century. He was formerly in the employ of the well-known camera-maker, Ottewill, who may be regarded as the source to which the best school of English camera-making traces its origin. If his name is not associated with the introduction of any very great novelty of design in the construction of cameras- we believe the side flap of a support for the camera body is the only distinctly original feature with which he can be credited-there is no doubt that a Meagher camera was long worthily put forward by practical photographers as a model of efficiency, durability, and excellence of construction.

R. Kennett

Mr. Kennett, at the time of his death, was aged 79. It was in the year 1874, when the gelatino-bromide process was in the experimental stage, the Mr. Kennett, on June 9, read a paper before the London Photographic Society, in which he fully described his mode of preparing gelatino-bromide pellicle. He was also the inventor of Kennett’s stand. There is not doubt that his experiments in the preparation of gelatine pellicle gave a great impetus to dry-plate photography.

M. Carey Lea

It was not only in connexion with THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, or with photography, the Mr. Carey Lea was known, for, in spite of his once prolific contributions-and how numerous these were readers of twenty and thirty years ago will remember- he found time to devote himself to other researches, chemical as well as physical, the results of which contributed to various scientific papers, but chiefly to Silliman’s Journal, and occasionally the Journal of the Franklin Institute. But it is naturally in connexion with photography that he was best known. One of the earliest, and at that time perhaps one of the most practically useful, of his contributions was that in which he described his plate-cleaning solution, composed of bichromate of potash and sulphuric acid, a mixture that proved so effective, not only for that purpose but for removing old films, and as a general laboratory detergent, that it became almost universally adopted, and familiarly known as ‘Carey-Lea.’ The ferro-gelatine developer was another of his valuable contributions to wet-plate photographic practice, and consisted of a chemical combination of gelatine with ordinary iron developer, which resulted in the deposition of the metallic silver, under the influence of the organic matter, in a much finer and closer state of division , and the consequent formation of a denser image. Originally published in 1865, the process of preparation was improved and simplified some years later, and it is not improbable that , had wet plates remained in general use, this combination would, ere now, have entirely displace pyro, both for development and intensification. Another of his laboratory formulae, of about the same date, was the method of intensification by means of Schlippe’s salt, a sulphide of sodium and antimony, which would , even at the present day, find wider use in process work were it not for the evil smelling character of the chief material. Mr. Carey Lea’s name will be inseparably connected with collodion emulsion whenever the history of emulsion photography may be written. He took up the collodio-bromide process in 1866 or 1867, and kept working at that, or ‘washed’ emulsion, without intermission, right way until collodion was practically suppressed by gelatine.

This was the great point in Carey Lea’s view of emulsion photography-free silver- and to him is due, undoubtedly, the credit of pointing out its used and value, though possibly modern workers, like many of the older ones, would differ form him in some of the details. The late Colonel Wortley, indeed, went further than Carey Lea in the matter of free silver, alleging that it was necessary to saturate the emulsion with free silver. Other modifications of the original process consisted in the addition of iodide and chloride of silver to the emulsion, points which also gave rise to very considerable controversy, while, as to the variations in “preservatives: and “organifiers” tried and recommended, it would be impossible to mention them. Carey Lea, however, introduced the method in a practical way of adding the organifier to the emulsion, so that the latter only required to be poured on to the glass and washed before use.

On the introduction of Mr. W. B. Bolton’s washed collodion emulsion in 1874, Carey Lea was not slow to recognize its advantages, and at once began experimenting, with the result that in 1875 or 1876 he published his washed¬chlorido-bromide process, possessing a degree of rapidity far surpassing wet collodion. Whether this or similar processes would ever have come into general use is open to question, as the result of Carey Lea’s experiments was rather to rob the original process of its simplicity without adding featly to its advantages. Thus the precipitation of the emulsion, containing a large access of free silver, by means of a solution containing tannin, gallic and acetic acids, may be imagined to be one of some delicacy and requiring some manipulative skill to ensure success.

In 1870 he published a Manual of Photography, which went through two or three editions, and, though comparatively little known in this country, it is one of the best and most complete all-round works we have.

F.W. Edwards, F.R.P.S

He first carried on business in the Albany-road as an architectural photographer, and later, for a very long period, at 87, Bellenden-road, Peckham. For about two years he was connected with the firm of W.H. Ward & Co,. Limited, Shaftesbury-avenue, and on leaving them about twelve months ago, he recommended business on his own account in Newman-street, Oxford-street.

About the time of the erection of the Albert Memorial, his photographs of the groups of statuary forming parts of it attracted attention. Later, his photographs of numerous Tinworth panels, taken on 23 x 18 plates, some of which were exhibited on the walls of the Royal Photographic Society’s Exhibitions, brought him more into prominent notice. Latterly, he produced a very large number of cathedral interiors of a similar size. For some years he was a regular exhibitor-principally at the Royal and Falmouth, and received nearly thirty awards.

As a platinotype worker he was well known, and was almost the first, if not the first, to publicly demonstrate the hot bath process, and handled with great ease print of nearly fifty inches in length.

In July, 1889, he was unanimously appointed President of the second South London Photographic Society, and was annually,, without any opposition, re-elected to that office.