RE: Daguerreotypes again-mercury

From: Gregory Popovitch ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 08/23/04-07:57:36 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Even at room temperature, there is always some mercury vapor
in equilibrium with the metallic mercury, and this is enough
to be dangerous. The Daguerrean Society has a reprint of (modern)
articles describing how to make daguerreotypes that they sell
for $10. This reprint includes a very comprehensive article
on the danger of mercury, and how to safely handle it. Of
course, a fume hood is recommended, but you should also have
a "mercury spill kit" to clean up potential mercury spills.

But overall, I agree with Etienne. While it is a very demanding
process there is no black magic and it is possible to learn it!
A workshop will help, but after all didn't Daguerre discover
the process without the benefit of tutoring? I have to admit
that I am amazed that he did, though.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert W. Schramm []
> Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 9:21 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: Daguerreotypes again-mercury
> 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:
> &gt;From: Marie Wohadlo &lt;;
> &gt;Reply-To:
> &gt;To:
> &gt;Subject: Daguerreotypes again
> &gt;Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 08:57:46 -0500
> &gt;
> &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).
> &gt;
Received on Mon Aug 23 19:57:25 2004

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