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British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1901

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

The section of the ALMANAC which is headed “Epitome of Progress” will inform the reader of the most recent advances in photography, especially in relation to the subject of colour reproduction. Some minor indications of progress may be briefly scanned in this summary. The closing year has witnessed very great activity in photographic manufacturers. Scarcely a month has passed without the introduction of new developing agents; printing papers; toning, intensifying, and reducing compounds; whilst makers of apparatus and lenses, dry plates, and flexible films have by no means been content to adhere to old paths, but have attracted the notice of photographers by the aid of novel introductions. In photography, as in so many other cases, the public appetite for something new defies appeasement. The task of sifting out form these marks of activity what is really progressive and what is not is a difficult one unless the test of time and experience are at hand to enable one to form an accurate judgment in the matter; but a few observations on some obvious tendencies may be worth while recording.

LENSES- Messrs. Zeiss have introduced the “Unar” and Messrs. Beck the Beck-Steinheil Orthostigmat Lenses to photographers. The latter is described in the section, “Recent Novelties in Apparatus.” We append a description of the properties of the “Unar,” published after practical trial by Mr. Philip Everitt. At a meeting of the London and Provincial Photographic Association, Mr. Everitt showed a “Unar” lens of 81/4 inches focus, listed to cover, as its full aperture of f¬5, a plate measuring 6 1/4 x 4 3/4. Two photographs were shown, taken at full aperture; but, as they were on 7 1/2 x 5 plates, a corresponding allowance would have to be made. The qualities claimed for the lens were flatness of field, great rapidity, and extensive covering power. The lens was of the same rank as the Petzval portrait lens for rapidity, but with a much larger angle and more even illumination throughout the field. His practical experiments were limited to the two negatives shown. One of these was to indicate the possibilities of the lens for portraiture at full aperture. The quality of the definition he considered very fine. The second plate was of a drawing-room window, showing blinds, curtains, &c., all of which were faithfully rendered to the edges. Mr. Everitt thought a lens with the qualities claimed for this was especially valuable to the professional man. It was a portrait lens, a group lens, and a lens for practically every purpose. Each half was composed of two lenses with an air space, yet no disturbing reflections arose-a great achievement in an instrument of this kind. A cursory examination showed that the back half of the lens was about 7 inches focus, and was uncorrected chromatically. The burden of correction for colour was thus thrown on the entire combination, and the two halves could not be separately used. The back lens, however, was corrected for astigmatism. Simplicity of construction is one of the features of the “Unar” lens, and it is probable that it will be followed by other lenses, which, if marking no important optical advance, will be very much simplified in form-a distinct gain to the optician, if not to the photographer. Indeed we are cognizant of the fact that some of our leading opticians are at present experimenting with this object.

FILM PHOTOGRAPHY- Cristoid (a flexible gelatine film), Secco (a gelatine film which is stripped form its paper support), and “Glassoline” (a gelatine film which also strips form a paper support, rendered translucent in manufacture), and non-stripping negative paper, are now competing with glass plates and cut and rollable celluloid: so that in the important respect of negative-making the photographer is offered a very wide choice. The remarkable feature of this matter is that, while film photography is becoming daily more popular, the use of glass plates shows no falling off-on the contrary, form what w hear, this branch of photographic manufacturing is steadily growing.

THE WAR AND PHOTOGRAPHY-The war in South Africa was the direct means of showing the capabilities of photography as a method of popular illustration, and the advances in this respect made during the last eighteen months have been remarkable. In future the rapid production of photographs for illustrating daily or weekly newspapers promises to be an important factor in journalism, to which photographers, inventors, and others might profitably give attention. Telephotography was also brought into prominence by the war; but how far the lens, the camera, and the sensitive surface were of assistance to the military authorities in the field operations there has yet been no opportunity of ascertaining. The war also served to sustain the popularity of cinematograph entertainments; but for the time being it reacted adversely on ordinary projection entertainments, and consequently marred last winter’s optical lantern trade. Perhaps we must wait for another season until the optical lantern fully regains its place in the affections of the public.

APARATUS-The Kodak Company, with the cheap and clever “Panoram” Kodak, brought out one of the most attractive novelties of the year, during the whole of which this enterprising house was constantly stimulating public interest in photography. Messrs. Beck, Messrs. Adams, Messrs, Watson, Messrs, Newman & Guardia, and other firms, also brought out new cameras, which are described in detail in the section of the ALMANAC, headed “Recent Novelties in Apparatus.” There has been a steady influx of several kinds of American-made hand cameras, and several of the cheaper varieties also own their sources of origin to France and Italy. On the whole it cannot be said that British photographic apparatus makers hold their own against their foreign competitors in the production of cheap cameras. &C., although for strength of construction, allied with beauty of finish and practical utility, the better classes of English apparatus are unexcelled.

TONING, DEVELOPING, PRINTING, &C. -To Mr. W. B. Ferguson, of Q.C., the photographic world is indebted for a valuable process of copper toning. An abstract of the author’s paper on the subject, read before the Royal Photographic Society, is given in the “Epitome of Progress.” Messrs. Lumière introduced ceric sulphite as a reducer; and Messrs. Merck, Messrs. J.J. Griffin and Sons, and some of the German manufacturing chemists, have been busily occupied in increasing the list of developing compounds. “Ozotype,” Mr. Thomas Manly’s ingenious modification of the carbon process, has engaged much pubic attention; but it is too soon to assign it a place amongst modern photographic processes.

The number of Photographic Societies is gradually increasing, and it is unquestioned that amateur photography is distinctly spreading. The inflation that seized it some years ago having subsided, the process block trade has shrunk to that narrow limits defined by commercial requirements. Professional photography of the portraiture and landscape classes shows a tendency to respond to the demands of the pubic for high-class work; but there are no indications as yet of the ultrapictoiral work, about which so much is written and said, finding favour outside a very small circle. Such institutions as the Royal Photographic Society, the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom, and the Photographic Copyright Union flourish, and are doing excellent work; but the Photographers’ Benevolent Association has at leas succumbed to neglect. During the last Parliamentary session three Bills designed to more or less adversely affect photographic copyright were introduced to the House of Lords, and it is practically certain that when the Legislature meets in the spring the subject will be revived. It behoves all photographers to be alert, lest their interest are adversely affected. The Act of 1862, which is printed in this ALMANAC, deals fairly and equitably with photographic copyright, and it should be the aim of photographers to secure the retention of that Act in its entirety.

AMONGST those prominent in photography who have died since that last ALMANAC, the following may be singled out for special reference here: -
Thomas Edge
Professor Piazzi Smyth
J.A. Harrison
W. McLeish
Leon Warnerke
Thomas Fall
Dr. Wilhelm Zenker
Dr. Carl Schleussner


Mr. Edge was a successful portrait photographer for nearly thriy years in the earlier days, and by someof our odler readres will be rememberd for his improvements in studio construcion and studio lighting, as well as for his meothos of double printing, with inserted foreground s and backgrounds, a system frequently describe in our pages. In the earlier days of carbon he was one of the best and most successful workers in that line, and in the early days of platinum he was also a pioneer. During the last few years of almost complete loss of eyesight caused him to give up photography, which he had continued as a hobby even after retiring from it as a business, and he then developed a method of building up various scenes from pieces of cork, lichen, sand, &c., which he could see to do in a good light, and photographing the results. In this way he produced very many fancy pictures.


Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, late Astronomer Royal for Scotland, began his astronomical career at the Cape of Good Hope sixty-five years ago, afterwards assisting in the remeasurments of La Caille’s South African Arc of the Meridian. When appointed to his Scottish post, he set himself to clear off some five years of arrears of work in computation. In 1859 he visited the Russian observatories, and made a report upon them. The work by which he is best known is “Life and Work on the Great Pyramid.” In August, 1888, he retired to Ripon, where he devoted himself to spectroscopy and to the study of cloud forms. In former years Professor Smyth was a frequent and valued contributor to the JOURNAL and the ALMANAC.


The late Mr. Harrison will be chiefly remembered in connection with the Pantascopic Camera, of which he and the late J. R. Johnson were the inventors over thirty years ago. Of his camera the late Mr. Traill Taylor, in the ALMANAC of 1892, gave the following description and opinion: -“Probably no camera which has ever been introduced at all approached in mechanical ingenuity the one I shall now endeavor to describe. Although every part of it, except the stand, is in motion by means of clockwork during the taking of the picture, such is the perfection of both its principle of construction and its workmanship that I have frequently subjected negatives taken by one in my possession to examination under a compound microscope, the limit to the power employed being that degree of amplification at which the silver granules forming the collodion image became too pronounced.

“The pantascopic camera is composed of a small chamber capable of rotating freely on a strong pin fixed in a circular base plate. This pin is situated directly under the optical centre of the lens. The back is closed, all but a narrow slot reaching form top to bottom, and has wings fitted to it for the purpose of opening or narrowing the slot, of making it wider opposite the foreground and closer for the sky, so that, no matter how dark the one and how bright the other, the picture will be harmoniously rendered. Attached to and projecting laterally from each side of the camera is a steel raid, on which runs, on two castors, a carriage bearing the dark slide, which is covered with an endless band of opaque cloth running over two rollers at each end of a brass flange. The edge of this circular plate on which the camera rotates is grooved, and on this groove two strings fold, one end of each being attached to the base, the other to the carriage that carries the dark slide. The camera rotating, and the base being stationary, the strings fold and unfold respectively, giving a rectilinear motion to the carriage, which runs upon the rail at the back of the camera. The diameter of the circular plate upon which the strings fold has a definite relation to the focus of the lens, and thus the relative motion of sensitive plate and lens is obtained. The plate is therefore always tangential to the supposed cylinder upon which the image ought to be received. The camera is driven by clockwork so arranged that a perfectly uniform motion is maintained during the whole time that the camera is being rotated. The dimensions of the plate depend, of course, upon the focus of the lens and the angle of view to be obtained. If the focus of the lens be 3 3/4 inches, which is that in our camera, then, if the whole horizon is to be included, the length of the plate must be equal to the circumference of a circle whose radius equals the focus of the lens. Our camera, however, is fitted for 1/2 plates, and on these we secure an angle of 120° on the base line, the extreme ends being necessarily as sharp as the center.

“When in action, the camera, carrying the carriage with the dark slide, moves round the central pivot below the optical centre of the lens. The carriage, at the same time, has a movement of translation from one end of the rail to the other, this being effected by the stings spoken of. The axial rays only of the lens are employed in forming the image, hence there is no distortion.

“Pantascopic negatives of the size above indicated have yielded enlargements 36 x 12 inches, in which there is no want of sharpness. The perspective is panoramic. This invention was originated in 1862, but it was three year later ere it was quite perfected.”

Many other ingenious mechanical photographic devices of which he was the inventor were from time to time exhibited by the late Mr. Harrison at various societies, including the South London, the Photographic Club, the London and Provincial, the Royal, &c.


Mr. McLeish was a native of Perthshire, and went to Darlington about forty years ago. Changing his occupation from that of gardener, he became a photographer, occupying for some years a wooden erection in Grange-road, Darlington. The measure of success that he achieved in the years that followed showed that he had found his forte in taking up photography. After a few years at the above place, he removed to Northgate, and there he remained until the end, living in rooms adjoining his establishment.

In his professional labours he was gifted, painstaking, and original, and made a name for himself far beyond the bounds of Teeside. It was in the early eighties that Mr. McLeish fist made his name with the famous photograph, “A Misty Morning of the Wear.” This picture created a sensation, and was one of the chief exhibits in the Pall Mall Exhibition of the year. Of his photograph between 2000 and 3000 copies have been printed, till the negative has become defective; but copies have gone all over the world.


Although during the last two or three years Mr. Warnerke’s participation in British photographic work was very slight, for nearly a quarter of a century his activity had been incessant. Hungarian by birth, he settled in England about 30 years ago, his profession being that of civil engineer. A taste of photography led him into the paths of experiment, and form a brief biography of him which was published in THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRPAHY nearly seventeen years ago, we learn that he first appeared prominently before the photographic public in 1875, when, at a meeting of the old South London Photographic Society, he read a communication on “Paper versus Glass,” and exhibited and described his roller slides and sensitive collodion tissue. In 1876 he addressed the Photographic Society of Great Britain on the subject of “Investigations in Collodion Emulsion,” in which he gave the results of a series of experiments on the relative values of different salts for emulsion purposes.

From that date forward the record of Mr. Warnerke’s writings and papers would be a very lengthy one, for he did not confine himself to the societies and journals of this country, but made frequent appearances at photographic societies in Russia, Belgium, Germany, and France. At St. Petersburg, twenty years ago, he founded a photographic society and a photographic journal, and we believe that at one time he was commercially interested in dry-plate making in that city. In 1877 he was awarded the prize offered by the Photographic Association of Belgium for the best dry process, and in 1881 the Process Medal of the Photographic Society of Great Britain was conferred upon him. Until a year ago he was a member of the Society’s Council, and on e it its most active supporters.

One branch of work brought him very prominently before photographers¬actionometry and sensitometry. The Warnerke Actinometer was based upon the employment of a phosphorescent tablet, upon which to record the impress of the light’s action, whilst the well-known sensitometer, which bears-or, rather, bore-his name, also utilised the same principle, and was for a long time the recognised and, indeed, the only, standard of speed measurement for dry plates. Until comparatively recently most, if not all, dry plate-makers indicated the speeds of their plates by readings obtained on the Warnerke sensitometer. We believe that to Mr. Warnerke was due the credit of the establishment of the lens standards of the Photographic Society of Great Britain, a committee having been appointed by the Society at his suggestion to take the matter into consideration. He was a constant attendant at the various Photographic Congresses, and it may in brief be said of him that British photography is distinctly the richer by the close touch which he served to establish and maintain between photographic progress in this country and abroad.

In more recent years, we remember the very exhaustive account he gave of photographic educational institutions in Berlin, Vienna, and other Continental cities. It was Mr. Warnerke who introduced the well-known optician, Mr. C. P. Goerz, to a meeting of the Photographic Society, when the double anastigmat lens was first exhibited in this country, and to him that English photographers were indebted for sustaining interest in the Lippmann process of interference colour-photography, Messrs. Lumière’s remarkable results being shown by him at a Society of Arts meeting in the year 1893.


Mr. Fall had just entered his 67th year. He was born at Leyburn, in North Yorkshire. He was apprenticed to lithographic printing, but in his early manhood took up photography, first as a traveling worker, and afterwards built a studio in Bedale. On coming to London, his first engagement was with the (then) new firm of Elliott & Fry. For many years he enjoyed a wide reputation for portraiture, being especially happy with children, and latterly he devoted himself to animal photography with great success.


Dr. Wilhelm Zenker was a distinguished astronomer and physicist, and was the author of the first work on photography in natural colours, his “Lehrbuch der Photochromie: being published in 1868. This work is of special interest, as in it he fully explained the formation of colour photography by stagnant waves, which is, as is well known, the fundamental theory of Lippmann’s well-known work.


Dr. Carl Schleussner, one of Germany’s most prominent theoretical and practical workers in the different branches of photography since its early days, had a large laboratory for the manufacture of chemicals, particularly collodion and nitrate of silver, but he was more extensively known for his dry plates, which he enjoyed a high reputation in Germany. For many years he was President of the Verein zur Pflege der Photographie at Frankfort.