RE: Daguerreotypes again-mercury

From: Robert W. Schramm ^lt;>
Date: 08/23/04-07:20:36 PM Z
Message-id: <>

This is true. Hatters used beaver skins to manufacture top hats. These were
cured with mercury compounds which when absorbed into ther body attack the
central nervous system. Hence the term "mad" hatters." In the daguerreotype
process metallic mercury is used. At room temperature it is not especially
dangerous but when heated so that it becomes mercury vapor it can be inhaled
and thus absorbed. Some of the early daguerreotypists did indeed become

I built a fume hood in my studio and also wear a resperator that absorbs
mercury, iodine and bromine.

I assume that alternative process printers are adult, intelligent people who
have taken the trouble to learn the dangers associated with their work so I
do not make any attempt to lecture them; however, I do feel compelled to
mention that this process is one of the most dangerous processes.

There is a publication out there somewhere that offers a quick and simple
way to make daguerreotypes using a cole slaw shredder, aluminium foil and
other makeshift methods. I would be lax if I did not warn you and others
that the proceedures discribed in this publication are extremely dangerous.
OK, you might get away with this if you are lucky but if you are
not.....what then? Don't say I didn't warn you.

When you are working with potentially dangerous chemicals, all I can say is,
you are a fool if you do not learn how to handle them safely. But, its up to
you. A lot of people still smoke cigarettes.

Bob Schramm

Check out my web page at:

&gt;From: Marie Wohadlo &lt;;
&gt;Subject: Daguerreotypes again
&gt;Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 08:57:46 -0500
&gt;It seems that there are those who HAVE learned the Dag process on
&gt;their own, although I would never ever ever even think of beginning
&gt;to deal with mercury without consulting with multiple professionals
&gt;on this. Perhaps someone can confirm or deny this, but I have heard
&gt;that the phrase (and character of) the &quot;Mad Hatter&quot; came about
&gt;because there once was a day when men's top hapts were made to shine
&gt;with.....guess what.....mercury......and they eventually went insane
&gt;(for lack of any actual diagnoses).
Received on Mon Aug 23 19:20:50 2004

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