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British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1903

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

The year 1902 will long live in the recollection as marking a depth of commercial and industrial depression, lower than had been reached at any time in the previous half century, except perhaps during the Crimean War. The conclusion of hostilities in South Africa was followed by the King’s illness and a postponement of his Coronation, whilst throughout the year the weather was extremely unfavourable. It is not difficult to perceive in these abnormal conditions the reason why photography, in common with many other braches of activity, suffered a serious check in its progress. The trade languished, in sympathy with that lack of popular support, which was certainly not anticipated when the predecessor of this ALMANAC was issued. Competition has been exceedingly keen, and the unpleasant effects of overproduction have manifested themselves in various quarters.

But, paradoxical as that may appear, photography is a greater favourite than hitherto with the general public, the members of which in vast numbers, have recently been attracted to the most fascinating hobby of the time by the numerous references that are now given to photographic matters in the general Press. A revival of business at the turn of the year is well within the bounds of probability, and in that event we may safely expect the ranks of amateur photographers to be very considerably swollen.

A characteristic feature of the year 1902 was the impetus given to the production of roll film photographic apparatus: inquiry into the causes of this lies outside the scope of this volume. New cameras and films have been introduced in great variety, and many of the former will be illustrated in the text and advertisement pages of the ALMANAC. Tri-colour photography, in a simplified form, has been placed within popular reach. Self-toning papers have come into extended use. The opticians have shown considerable activity, and new lenses have emanated from the establishments of Messrs. Goerz, Messrs. Ross, Messrs. Taylor, Taylor and Hobson, and other firms. The chemical side of photography has perhaps received less attention than formerly.

Day by day the applications of the “black art” extent and increase, and the camera has become almost indispensable to persons of refinement and education. There is at present no reason to apprehend that the firm hold on public favour which photography has secured is in danger of diminution.

AMONGST the specially prominent photographers who have died since the publication of the last ALMANAC, the following may be mentioned: Richard Leach Maddox, M.D. (for over forty years associated with THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY and ALMANAC).
M. Louis Werner
Charles Burr
N.A. Monnickendam
J.V. Robinson
Sir J.T. Chance, M.A.
Dr. Heinrich Ludwig Hugo Schroeder


M. Werner died a t Dublin on December 12th, 1901, in the seventy-eight year of his age. The deceased gentleman was born in the department of the Upper Rhine, and began his art studies in Strasburg. At Paris, in 1842, he successfully competed for admission to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he studied under Delaroche, Horace Vernet, Ingres, and other painters. In 1854 he settled in Dublin as a portrait painter, and although he did not himself practise photography as a profession, he eventually, in 1864, found the well-known firm of Werner and Son, photographers, a business which he conducted until the year 1885, when he transferred it to his son, Mr. Alfred Werner. The business was carried on quite privately. A frequent exhibitor at the royal Hibernian Academy in the fifties and sixties, the late Monsieur Werner enjoyed considerable vogue in Ireland as a portrait painter. The deceased gentleman, who was much esteemed for his high personal qualities and is regretted by a large circle of acquaintances, enjoyed the friendship of J.F. Millet, Gustave Doré, and many other renowned artists of the last century.


Mr. Charles Burr, the once well-known lens-maker, passed away during the year.


Mr. N.A. Monnickendam passed away in the sixty-sixth year of his age. The deceased gentleman was known to many of our older readers as a very able producer of photographic enlargements in black and white, colour, etc.


Mr. J.V. Robinson was a former esteemed contributor to the JOURNAL and the ALAMANC. Mr. Robinson, who was a native of Spalding, Lincolnshire, when to Dublin over forty years ago, and was for several years, engaged in pharmaceutical work, later turning his attention the photography. He, in conjunction with the late Mr. Thomas Millard, was one of the pioneers of photography in Ireland, his experience dating form the days of the old sun pictures of daguerreotypes. Since that time he has been closely associated with
the art of photography, and was responsible for may of the improvements which have brought this art to such perfection. His improvements in connection with photographic cameras and shutters are well known. Some year ago he constructed a camera capable of taking pictures 5ft. 6in. by 3ft. 2in., which at that time was the largest direct photograph that had been attempted. Deceased, who was widely known in scientific circles, was one of the founders of the Photographic Society of Ireland, and for many years a member of the Royal Dublin Society and other scientific bodies, taking an active part in their deliberations.


Sir James Timmins Chance, M.A. was head of the firm of Chance Brothers and Co., Birmingham, of which he had been a partner for over sixty years. He was born March 22nd, 1814, the son of William Chance, J.P., of Spring Grove, Birmingham. He was educated at University College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating B.A., in 1838, as Seventh Wrangler. From 1859 he devoted himself especially to the manufacture and improvement of dioptric illuminating apparatus for lighthouses, and he worked with the Royal Commission of that year to correct existing errors and deficiencies therein in the lighthouses of these islands. In 1867 he was awarded the Telford Gold medal and premium of the Institutions of Civil Engineers for his paper on “Optical Apparatus used in Lighthouses.” He founded the Chance Chair of Engineering in the University of Birmingham.


At the age of eighty-five, Dr. R.L. Maddox died at Southampton, on Sunday, May 11th. His association with the JOURNAL and its ALMANAC extended over a period of forty years, and a list of his contributions on photographic and photo¬micrographic subjects would be a very lengthy one. By his death we have cause to regret the snapping of an old and valuable link with the past which cannot be replaced.

We are indebted to Mrs. Gillies, Dr. Maddox’s daughter, for the following particulars of his life:-“Born in 1816, for many years he lived a Constantinople, practicing there as a doctor, and where he married, in 1849, Amelia, a daughter of Benjamin Winn Ford, Esq., of that city, by whom he had a son, Richard Willes Maddox, artist, and a daughter, myself, the widow of Captain Andrew Gillies. My mother died in 1871, and in 1875 Dr. Maddox was married again to Agnes, a daughter of George Sharp, Esq. Of Newport, Isle of Wight, who survives him, and by whom he had once son, Walter Vaughan Maddox. In 1875 my father left England for Ajaccio, where he practiced among the English residents. Form Corrisca he and Mr. Maddox went to Bordighera, remaining there some months. Dr. Maddox also practised near Genoa. He was also at different times resident physician to the late Duke of Montrose, the late Sir Watkins Williams Wynn, and the late Lady Katherine Bannerman. Dr. Maddox then lived for some years at Gunnersbury, and since 1886 has resided at Greenbank, Portswood, Southampton, in a most retired manner, but still interested in everything relating to science, frequently writing for journals and papers in America, France, and England. The loss to his family is beyond all words. They desire to thank the many scientific friends for their kindly sympathy, so much appreciated by them. My father’s medical attendant, Dr. Wales, said it was simply ‘the triumph of mind over body’ that had kept him alive so long. He was interred on the 15th inst. In the Southampton Cemetery.”

Commencing photography in 1853, the most notable piece of work associated with Maddox’s name was undoubtedly the publication in the British Journal of Photography, on September 8th, 1871, of the first real attempt on record to compound a practicable gelatino-bromide emulsion. We reproduce the article in full, as it will probably interest many of the younger generation of photographers who are ignorant of the slow and laborious manner in which gelatine photography was placed within general reach:-


The collodio-bromide processes have for some time held a considerable place in the pages of the British Journal of Photography, and obtained such a prominent chance of being eventually the process of the day in the dry way, that a few remarks upon the application of another medium may perhaps not be uninteresting to the readers of the JOURNAL, though little more can be stated than the result of somewhat careless experiments tried at first on an exceedingly dull afternoon. It is not for a moment supposed to be new, for the chances of novelty in photography are small, seeing the legion of ardent workers and the ground already trodden by its devotees, so that for outsiders little remains except to take the result of labours so industriously and largely circulated through these pages and be thankful. Gelatine, which forms the medium of so many printing processes, and which doubtless is yet to form the base of more, was tried in the place of collodion in this manner: -Thirty grains of Nelson’s gelatine were washed in cold water, then left to swell for several hours, when all the water was poured off and the gelatine set in a wide-mouthed bottle, with the addition of four drachms of pure water and two small drops of aqua regia, and then placed in a basin of hot water for solution. Eight grains of bromide of cadmium dissolved in half a drachm of pure water were now added, and the solution stirred gently. Fifteen grains of nitrate of silver were next dissolved in a half a drachm of water in a test tube, and the whole taken into the dark room, where the latter was added to the former slowly, stirring the mixture the whole time. This gave a fine milky emulsion, and was left for a little while to settle. A few plates of glass well cleaned were next leveled on a metal plate put over a small lamp; they were, when fully warmed, coated by the emulsion spread to the edges by a glass rod, then returned to their places and left to dry. When dry the plates had a thin, opalescent appearance, and the deposit of bromide seemed to be very evenly spread in the substance of the substratum. These plates were printed form in succession from different negatives, one of which had been taken years since on albumen with ox-gall and diluted phosphoric acid, sensitised in an acid nitrate bath, and developed with pyrogallic acid, furnishing a beautiful warm brown tint.

The exposure varied form the first plate thirty seconds to a minute and a half, as the light was very poor. No vestige of an outline appeared on removal for the printing-frame. The plates were dipped in water to wet the surface, and over them was poured a plain solution of pyrogallic acid, four grains to the ounce of water. Soon a faint but clean image was seen; which gradually intensified up to a certain point, then browned all over; hence the development in the others was stopped at an early stage, the plate washed, and the development continued with fresh pyro., with one drop of a ten-grain solution of nitrate of silver, then re¬washed and cleared by a solution of hyposulphite of soda. The resulting prints were very delicate in detail, of a colour varying between a bistre and olive tint, and after washing dried with a brilliant surface. The colour of the print varied greatly, according to the exposure. Form the colour and delicacy, it struck me that with care not to stain the gelatine, or use only the clearest portion, such a process might be utilised for transparencies for the lantern and the sensitive plates be readily prepared. Some plates were fumed with ammonia; these fogged under the pyro. solution. The proportions set down were only taken at random, and are certainly not as sensitive as might be procured under trials. The remaining emulsion was left shut up in a box in the dark-room and tried on the third day after preparation; but the sensibility had, it seems, greatly diminished, though the emulsion, when rendered fluid by gently warming, appeared creamy, and the bromide thoroughly suspended. Some of this was now applied to some pieces of paper by means of a glass rod, and hung up to surface dry, then dried fully on the warmed level plate, and treated as sensitised paper. One kind of paper that evidently was largely adulterated by some earthy base dried without any brilliancy, but gave, under exposure of a negative for thirty seconds, very nicely-toned prints when developed with a weak solution of pyro., having very much the look of a neutral-toned carbon print without any glaze, and I think might be rendered useful on plain paper. Some old albumenised paper of Marion’s was tired, the emulsion being poured both on the albumen side and, in other pieces, on the plain side, but the salting evidently greatly interfered, the resulting prints being dirty-looking and greyed all over. These papers fumed with ammonia turned grey under development. They printed very slowly, even in strong sunlight, and were none of them left long enough to develop in a full print. After washing they were cleared by weak hypo. Solution. It is very possible the iron developer maybe employed for the glass prints, provided the actual acidification does not render the gelatine soft under development. The slowness may depend in part on the proportions of bromide and nitrate not being correctly balanced, especially as the ordinary, not the anhydrous, bromide was used, and on the quantities being too small for the proportion of gelatine. Whether the plates would be more sensitive if used when only surface dry is a question of experiment; also, whether other bromides than the one tried may not prove more advantageous in the presence of the neutral salt resulting from the decomposition, or the omission or decrease of the quantity of aqua regia. Very probably also the development by gallic acid and acetate of lead developer may furnish better results than the plain pyro. As there will be no chance of my being able to continue these experiments, they are placed in their crude state before the readers of the “Journal,” and may eventually receive correction and improvements under abler hands. So far as can be judged, the process seems quite work more carefully-conducted experiments, and, if found advantageous, adds another handle to the photographer’s wheel.

Eight year later, when tracing the rise and progress of gelatine emulsion photography, the late W. B. Bolton no mean authority, wrote of Maddox’s experiments in the following terms*:-

“ This formula differs in but one or two respects from the average formula given at the present time (1879). In the first place, aqua regia, is used, which must have an injurious action upon the gelatine; and, in the second place, an excess of silver exists in the finished emulsion. What that excess may be it is impossible to say without more definite information as the quantity and strength of aqua regia employed. But let us turn to the working of this ‘pioneer’ gelatine emulsion as described by Dr. Maddox himself. The plates were exposed under negatives, the exposures extending from half-a-minute to a minute and a half in a very poor light. The development was conducted with a plain four-grain solution of pyro. and after a thin clear image appeared, it was intensified with pryo. and silver. Some plates fumed with ammonia fogged instantly on the application of the developer. The emulsion, three days after preparation, was found to have greatly diminished in sensitiveness. It must be borne in mind that no instructions are given for removing the superfluous salts from the emulsion after sensitizing, and that, therefore, in addition to the nitrate of sodium formed by double decomposition, the mixture contained fee silver and free nitric acid. The presence of these two latter would sufficiently account for the development proceeding under the action of plain pyro. solution, the operation consisting, in fact, of silver development, and would further explain the slowness of the plates which Dr. Maddox complained of in the course of this article. Moreover, it is not surprising that after fuming with ammonia (which would neutralize the restraining acid) the plates should fog on the application of pyro., for in the absence of any restrainer the free silver contained in the film would be instantly reduced. Such was the fist attempt to utilise gelatine as a vehicle in which to suspend the sensitive silver salt in plate of collodion; and though it proved the possibility of thus utilizing gelatine, the experiment cannot be said to have turned out a success. It is not difficult at this date to pint out where Dr. Maddox failed; the emulsion itself was not so much in fault as the outside circumstances under which it was to be worked.”

Maddox’s experiments received, in a marked degree, the stamp of public acknowledgement, although it must be confessed the recognition was in many cases somewhat tardy. The gold medal of the Inventions Exhibition held in 1885 was awarded to him; another distinctions were the John Scott bronze medal from Philadelphia; a bronze medal form Brussels; a gold medal from Antwerp, and numerous diplomas. The progress medal of the Royal Photographic Society was conferred upon Maddox on February 12th, 1901,the present Editor of the “British Journal of Photography” having the honour of being deputed to receive the medal on behalf of the distinguished experimentalist. In the autumn of 1891 the “British Journal of Photography: also took the initiative in raising a sum of between £ 500 and £600, contributed by photographers in England, France Germany, and America, in recognition of the value of his work.

In microscopy and photo-microscopy, Maddox also did distinguished work, and the latter subjects gave him a theme for an excellent series of articles in the volume of the “British Journal of Photography” for 1883. In the following year his portrait and biography were also published in its pages, and the following extract form the appreciation of him then given will show the esteem with which his microscope work has long been held: -

“Dr. R.L. Maddox, after a voyage round the worked in 1839-1840, in search of health, spent many years abroad practicing in an official and private capacity, but had eventually to renounce the arduous duties of his profession form constant suffering of a very painful nature, which had extended over half-a-century. He had early taken up the subject of microscopy as connected with his profession, and had translated Dr. Dujardin’s manual at the time that Quekett’s ‘Treatise on the Microscope’ appeared. Owing to the impossibility of arranging for the use of the beautiful plates of Dujardin’s work, the translation was never published. Being obliged to return to England, dr. Maddox employed himself in trying to extend the labours of others by combining photography with microscopic research, and in this path was so far successful as to be the recipient of two medals, and for his various writings on this and macroscopic subjects he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society. About the theme of his introduction of the gelatino-bromide process, Dr. Maddox was carrying on a series of examinations on the living organisms found in the atmosphere, and which necessitated prolonged and tedious work with the microscope, amount sometime to sixteen hours in the day. In his method he differed entirely form shot who had preceded him, and this had been made the basis of further and most extended research ed by others, especially by Dr. Douglas Cunningham and his friend, Dr. Miquel of the Observatory of Montsouris, Paris. Dr. Maddox used an apparatus of his own invention-the “aëroconiscope”-a kind of multiple funnel set up as a vane. The wind traversing this instrument deposited the organism on a thin cover-glass duly prepared for the purpose. The organisms were then cultivated, and many of them carefully figured, the results being published in the current Monthly Microscopical Journal.

Of the gelatino-bromide process we need scarcely say more than that its present high state of utility has been brought about by the labours of the many, and Dr. Maddox may justly be proud that he closed his paper on the process with the hope that he had given another handle to the photographers’ wheel, which has indeed, without restriction, been turned to their common benefit. He gave much of his time to microscopic drawing, as it attest in the work of the late Dr. Parkes on “Hygiene,” and Dr. Naylor on “Skin Diseases” and other authors; but his coloured drawings of many of the diatomaceoe under reagents, and his figures of the ferments in the deposits of beer, etc., have, we believe, never been published. Worn down by much suffering, he was again obliged to reside abroad for a considerable period, and renounce his favourite pursuits; but since his return he has devoted much of his time to them, especially in the endeavour to photograph bacteria-some of the minutest living entities, which require both skill and patience for reproduction by photography. Dr. Maddox was always ready to impart any information he might possess, hold that the claims of science, for her advancement, were-“If freely ye have received, freely give.”

In a letter to Mr. W.J. Harrison, published in these columns on November 4th, 1887, Dr. Maddox explains why in emulsion work his attention was directed to gelatine and silver bromide: -

“Firstly, the cost of the collodion, with the troublesome manufacture of the cotton; secondly, health more or less affected by its constant use when working, as I was, in my camera, a dressing-room, often at a very high temperature in the summer months; and, thirdly, dissatisfaction with the dry methods for the photo¬micrographic work upon which I was much engaged. The first reason may be dismissed as of little moment when there was an adequate return upon the work done, but not so when there was an absolute loss even in an amateur’s point of view. The second reason was a more important one. Being often shut up for hours in the said camera, the temperature at full summer heat, I found the system completely saturated with the vapour of the collodion, so much so, that it could be tasted in the breath on awaking in the night, and sleep was generally much disturbed and unrefreshing, while it was much needed to restore the nervous energy wasted by constant suffering, often very severe in character; moreover, there was an outcry in the household that the collodion vapour unpleasantly pervaded every room in the house. The third reason that I could find no satisfactory dry or sticky process that did not embrace the first two reasons, and add another of its own in the shape of additional time and trouble in the preparation of the plate. These reasons set me experimenting, sometimes on paper, sometimes on glass, with vegetable gummy matters, as lichen, linseed, quince-seed; and with starchy substances, as rice, tapioca, sago, etc.; and with waxy material, as Japanese vegetable wax.