The value of the history of photography//US Patent Office

From: John Ptak ^lt;>
Date: 03/16/05-01:28:29 PM Z
Message-id: <00df01c52a5e$55b70f80$6101a8c0@johnwe1gpx6f3s>

A very useful but complex tool for research is the US Patent (and Trademark)
Office. They are online with all of the US Patents (yes, all) including
text and images. In order to save images you need to download a special
TIFF viewer (links on the site for several). Unfortunately, the only way to
search for patents before 1976 is by the patent number. To get the patent
number (unless by some miracle you already have it) you have to go to the
Patent Classification page and enter the appropriate data. Again, this is
more difficult than it sounds because you have to be very specific about
what you are looking for.

The Patent Classification Page:

The first US Patent related to the camera went to Alex. Wolcott (patent #
1582)-once you download the viewer you can save the text and the drawings,
which are pretty iconic.

If you have trouble negotiating around the site you can call 800.786.9199
where after a wait you *will* get someone who can help.

When you cross these barriers this site is dynamite. I've used it for early
US Tech (non-photo, sorry) and it is just gorgeous when it submits.

If you have any questions about using this site don't hesitate to email or
call. Or if anyone simply wants the Wolcott drawing I'd be happy to forward

John Ptak

JF Ptak Science Books

8 Biltmore Ave

Asheville NC 28801

----- Original Message -----
From: "SteveS" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 1:48 PM
Subject: Re: Re: The value of the history of photography

> Interesting history book proposal, Richard. I had this big argument with
> A.D. Coleman about the recording of the history of photography. His books
> are simply glossaries of types of pictures, images; but not anything to
> show the evolution of the process nor cameras.
> In a conversation with Mr. Reno, president of the company that
> manufactures the Packard shutter, it seems that was the first mechanical
> shutter for the camera, invented in 1843. Even with the shutter, many
> photographers optioned not to use it. The Packard who invented it remains
> a mystery person. No one seems to know who that was.
> The history and evolution of processes as Rijui suggests is a topic to
> trace in a history of photography nobody ever took time to research.
> Good luck with your book.
> Steve Shapiro, Carmel, CA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Richard Sullivan" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 7:02 AM
> Subject: Re: Re: The value of the handmade
>> George,
>> All the terms are a somewhat inaccurate in many cases. Historic to me is
>> the least objectionable. If by process we mean the printing process then
>> the digital neg is not a problem in the terminology. Even a newly
>> developed process like the Ziatype is in a sense an historic process even
>> though it is only 10 years old. Alternative is alternative to what?
>> Non-silver leaves out Kallitype, Van Dyke, POP, albumen, etc etc. Post
>> factory -- good heavens who dreamed that one up? Walk into a gallery
>> with post factory prints?
>> I am developing a class called "Hands-on Photographic History." I am just
>> now formulating the basic ideas but the title should give you a hint.
>> It's a precursor to an idea for some seminars that I plan for curators
>> and art historians that I want to give through the Center for
>> Photographic History and Technology.
>> I also want to mention that Dusan Stulik will be doing a session at APIS
>> this year. Normally we don't repeat speakers but since Dr. Stulik is the
>> Chief Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute I figured we cut him
>> a little slack.<grin> I've even given him carte blanche on what ever he
>> wants to talk about. I was tickled last time when he pointed out that
>> several Stieglitz's at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum listed as platinum had
>> plate marks on them and were actually copper gravures. Love a man that
>> speaks his mind.
>> --Dick Sullivan
>> At 11:52 AM 3/15/2005, you wrote:
>>> I think we agree that film and silver are becoming historic processes.
>>> Digital is the norm and film and silver are yesterdays standard.
>>>I like "historic process" except most of the work done in "historic
>>>processes" is actually a blend of old (gum, Plt/Pld, etc) and new
>>>(digital negs).
>>>As to calling ink jet prints "pigment" prints I suppose the most accurate
>>>description is "pigment ink" prints and "dye" ink prints. "Giclee" to me
>>>is, if not a misrepresentation, certainly a coverup of the real process,
>>>inkjet printing. The only thing wrong with inkjet printing is it got off
>>>to a bad start. We need to rehabilitate the term "inkjet prints".
>>>In the end, we all put images on various surfaces using various methods
>>>and show them to others.
>>>As to the guy selling inkjet prints as Plt/Pla, he should be reported to
>>>the consumer fraud authorities and arrested.
>>> >From: Richard Sullivan <>
>>> >Date: Tue Mar 15 10:30:09 CST 2005
>>> >To:
>>> >Subject: Re: The value of the handmade
>>> >At 09:00 AM 3/15/2005, you wrote:
>>> >
>>> >Ryuji,
>>> >
>>> >>Would you ditch process photography and use
>>> >>photography?
>>> >
>>> >I kind of switch around between using processes and made
>>> >photographs. Alternative just doesn't cut it with me, sounds too much
>>> >like
>>> >acupuncture or homeopathic medicine and has sort of a Mickey Mouse
>>> >connotation now.
>>> >
>>> >Historic processes will soon add gelatin silver to its terminology as
>>> >it is
>>> >coming to mean just about anything but digital.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >>Another point. Quite a few digital printers use techniques to make the
>>> >>prints look handmade. Gluing prints on canvas and smear wax over the
>>> >>image, etc. Maybe the name needs to be style handmade
>>> >>photography?
>>> >
>>> >Yeah Jack MacDonald years ago wrote a book called Old Fashioned
>>> >Looking Photographs. If he is the same MacDonald, long gone, that
>>> >started
>>> >the Tri-Mac Photographic School where I studied in the late 60's, he
>>> >was
>>> >also a teacher at Mortensens school in Laguna Beach Ca in the 30's and
>>> >40's.
>>> >
>>> >UK Bromoil folks are fond of old looking photos too.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >>I think the value is connected to the history and small scale
>>> >>methodology of processes to make the image and the print, not so much
>>> >>to the photoreactive chemistry. In my view, different appearance of
>>> >>the finished prints from those of Polymax dipped in Dektol or inkjet
>>> >>prints may be an epiphenomenon, although it may be more intuitively
>>> >>obvious distinction to average people.
>>> >
>>> >That connection to history is also important and something I was just
>>> >writing about yesterday. Today I am mostly thinking about survival and
>>> >getting home. We had about 16 inches of snow last night and it melted a
>>> >bit
>>> >this a.m. and a new cold front is moving in and the slush is freezing.
>>> >Ah
>>> >the Santa Fe drought is over but eeek.
>>> >
>>> >I see the digital printed image as a form of publishing. That really
>>> >turns
>>> >me on. The quality is there only lack is the speed and cost. Once we
>>> >can
>>> >print 10,000 8x10's in a couple of hours at a dime a piece we can
>>> >publish
>>> >our own books. We just need a small scale binding system to make the
>>> >package complete. What effect will this have on digital print prices I
>>> dunno.
>>> >
>>> >The one argument I hear referring to a digitally printed imageis took
>>> >me hours and hours to make that print Some how this is an attempt to
>>> >relate the work to a hand made image. To an extent this is true, a hand
>>> >made Tabriz carpet may have in fact taken a family of 4 two or three
>>> >years
>>> >or more to make. There is certainly a sweat equity factor in the value
>>> >of
>>> >some art items. I do find that much digital photography is over fiddled
>>> >with. This of course can eat up lots of time just trying this and then
>>> >trying that. Whether this equates to sweat equity is another question.
>>> >I
>>> >think not. It does not equate to a made image. The output printer
>>> >could be on another planet and that is hard to conceive of as handmade.
>>> >
>>> >I am 65 years old and have been looking at photographs for most
>>> >of those years. I find the distortions of gelatin silver that carries
>>> >through to the printing process to be natural looking whereas I think
>>> >younger folks adapt more readily to the more linear images one can pull
>>> >of
>>> >an inkjet printer. To me there is a sense of sterility to the
>>> >inkjet image.
>>> >
>>> >I am also appalled at the historic ignorance of folks who keep
>>> >insisting on
>>> >calling inkjet prints carbon prints or pigment prints. Not to name
>>> >names,
>>> >but I have corrected a number of photographers on this issue but they
>>> >continue the practice. There was even a set of cartridges being sold as
>>> > black and Patrick Alt informed me that a gallery in Elay was
>>> >selling the prints as platinum prints. Seems the guy had even put brush
>>> >marks on them with Photoshop.
>>> >
>>> >--Dick Sullivan
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >>--
>>> >>Ryuji Suzuki
>>> >> believing is all right, just don't let the wrong people know
>>> >>what it's all about. (Bob Dylan, Need a Woman, 1982)
Received on Wed Mar 16 13:28:41 2005

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