Re: Daguerreotypes again-mercury

From: Jeff Sumner ^lt;>
Date: 08/23/04-07:35:36 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Menthol. Trying hard to quit (again) but those durn Europeans... I get off
the plane in Portugal, there's an armed guard standing underneath the Nao
Fumar sign toking on a Portuges Suave. Hard to say no.

I read a citation in an old manuscript that described a test done by a
photographer- he hung a piece of gold leaf in his developing studio (staffed
by women) and within a week the gold leaf had fallen to the floor, an
amalgam had formed from the mercury vapours.

Nasty stuff. There was a fellow in Oz that haunted this list a few years ago
that suffered acute mercury poisoning. His experience wasn't a nice one.

There are ways of dealing with such things, though, and even when done in a
one-off way, mercury developed daguerrian images can made safely with
minimal exposure to the nasty stuff.


On 8/23/04 9:20 PM, "Robert W. Schramm" <> wrote:

> 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
> sick.
> 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:
Received on Mon Aug 23 19:35:52 2004

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