Re: Daguerreotypes again-mercury

From: Robert W. Schramm ^lt;>
Date: 08/23/04-07:50:24 PM Z
Message-id: <>


I read that same reference. That was back when daguerreotype studios were
working full blast turning out hundreds of images per week. They used
leather belts driven by steam engines to polish the plates, etc.

Heres an idea I read about that sounds like it would work. Coat a copper
pl;ate with metallic mercury at room temperature. Make a sandwich of an
exposed Dag plate , a mask so the plates don't touch and the mercury coated
plate. Tape it all together and let is sit around for a week or so.
Supposedly the plate will develop. No Hg fumes to amount to anything. Don't
know if this works. Havn't tried it but it sounds like it might work OK.

Bob Schramm
Check out my web page at:

&gt;From: Jeff Sumner &lt;;
&gt;To: &quot;;
&gt;Subject: Re: Daguerreotypes again-mercury
&gt;Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 21:35:36 -0400
&gt;Menthol. Trying hard to quit (again) but those durn Europeans... I get
&gt;the plane in Portugal, there's an armed guard standing underneath the
&gt;Fumar sign toking on a Portuges Suave. Hard to say no.
&gt;I read a citation in an old manuscript that described a test done by a
&gt;photographer- he hung a piece of gold leaf in his developing studio
&gt;by women) and within a week the gold leaf had fallen to the floor, an
&gt;amalgam had formed from the mercury vapours.
&gt;Nasty stuff. There was a fellow in Oz that haunted this list a few years
&gt;that suffered acute mercury poisoning. His experience wasn't a nice one.
&gt;There are ways of dealing with such things, though, and even when done
in a
&gt;one-off way, mercury developed daguerrian images can made safely with
&gt;minimal exposure to the nasty stuff.
&gt;On 8/23/04 9:20 PM, &quot;Robert W. Schramm&quot;
&lt;; wrote:
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; This is true. Hatters used beaver skins to manufacture top hats.
These were
&gt; &gt; cured with mercury compounds which when absorbed into ther body
attack the
&gt; &gt; central nervous system. Hence the term &quot;mad&quot;
hatters.&quot; In the daguerreotype
&gt; &gt; process metallic mercury is used. At room temperature it is not
&gt; &gt; dangerous but when heated so that it becomes mercury vapor it can
be inhaled
&gt; &gt; and thus absorbed. Some of the early daguerreotypists did indeed
&gt; &gt; sick.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; I built a fume hood in my studio and also wear a resperator that
&gt; &gt; mercury, iodine and bromine.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; I assume that alternative process printers are adult, intelligent
people who
&gt; &gt; have taken the trouble to learn the dangers associated with their
work so I
&gt; &gt; do not make any attempt to lecture them; however, I do feel
compelled to
&gt; &gt; mention that this process is one of the most dangerous processes.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; There is a publication out there somewhere that offers a quick and
&gt; &gt; way to make daguerreotypes using a cole slaw shredder, aluminium
foil and
&gt; &gt; other makeshift methods. I would be lax if I did not warn you and
&gt; &gt; that the proceedures discribed in this publication are extremely
&gt; &gt; OK, you might get away with this if you are lucky but if you are
&gt; &gt; not.....what then? Don't say I didn't warn you.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; When you are working with potentially dangerous chemicals, all I
can say is,
&gt; &gt; you are a fool if you do not learn how to handle them safely. But,
its up to
&gt; &gt; you. A lot of people still smoke cigarettes.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; Bob Schramm
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; Check out my web page at:
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt;
Received on Mon Aug 23 19:50:35 2004

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