Re: XIX century enlargers
On Tue, 19 Jun 2007 20:08:34 -0300, "Jacques Augustowski"
> Does anyone knows if albumen was used with the solar enlargers? What is
> the approximate date that these enlargers were used?
A quick reply (not much time these days!) but here's my suggestion.
A paper titled "Photographic Enlarging: A History" by Eugene Ostroff of
Smithsonian Institution was published in Photographic Science and
Engineering 28: 54-89 (1984). This is an excellent resource for anyone
interested in the history of photographic technology. It also has many
beautiful illustrations depicting how things were done in old days.
The following is OCR text from my personal digital library, so beware of
some machine conversion errors. Randomly appearing numbers are the
references/notes. Any decent library should have this journal in
collection... (actually this is the test I use to determine a library
good or bad so that much is kinda obvious...)
This paper provides a survey of the early history of photographic
enlarging. It includes: (1) precursor devices; camera obscura, magic
lantern, projecting solar telescope, solar and lucernal microscopes,
(2) photographic enlarging systems; those designed for photomicro-
graphy, those which used cameras to copy photographs onto larger
sensitized surfaces, special1y designed equipment to enlarge trans-
parent negatives, and cameras which made large negatives when
photographing the original subject, (3) ilIuminants; both sunlight and
artificial (carbon arc,limelight, kerosene, gas, magnesium, acetylene
and electric lamps), (4) optics, (5) exposure problems, (6) sensitized
materials, printing.out and developing-out types.
SOME RANDOM EXCERPTS...
For a long period thereafter, until transparent negativ!.'~
were introduced (albumen glass plate, 1847, and wet collodil"
glass plate, 1851), enlarger design basically followed tlw
Herschel arrangement-camera-like apparatus which pho-
tographed one image, in an enlarged version, onto a sensitized
material. Alternate approaches were limited by the opaque
or translucent characteristics of the early image supports, i.e.,
daguerreotypes, photogenic drawings, and calotypes. The
inherent problems of paper negatives-the light-impeding,
fibrous characteristics of the paper support and the extremely
slow response of early sensitized enlarging materials made it
impossible to consider direct-projection enlargement of the~e
images by transmitted light.
"Make up your mind, if you wish a good picture, to be now
a prisoner for two or three hours," declared John Stuart of
Glasgow in December 1862, when he talked about his en-
larging exposures. He installed a Woodward Solar Camera
vertically in a small structure located in his garden where it
was free of shadows from other buildings or trees. Exposures
from 21/4H X 3lJ4" negatives on his 14" X 17" albumen paper
required two to three hours and he used a hand-adjusted
mirror to track the sun. Stuart displayed four enlargements
at the December 6, 1862, meeting of the Glasgow Photographic
Association; prints which represented his entire production
for a full workday.1I0
The work done by the Moore solar printing establishment
captured the attention of Dr. H. W. Vogel, who in September
1870 observed that "we have nothing like these in Europe."
Moore used a battery of eighteen solar enlargers clustered on
his roof to take advantage of an unobstructed view of the sun.
Vogel stated "on a clear day, you will see these curious looking
instruments, marshalled in formidable array on the roof, with
their one great eye pointed toward the sun, silently but surely
doing their work. It is a curious sight from the street ...
especially when the attendants are busy adjusting the great
monsters. The looker ... maddens himself guessing what those
fellows are about." Moore used Liébert solar enlargers and
charged only two-and-a-half dollars for a large·sized en-
largement.I23 His albumen papers came from two sources, a
local manufacturer and one in Dresden; these papers, sensi-
tized and dried in his own darkrooms, required exposures of
about forty-five minutes. He adopted a mass-production ap-
proach of using one person to operate eighteen enlargers.124
Dr. Vogel reported that "The American photographer simply
mails his photograph with a ten-cent stamp to a photo-finisher
... and for $2.50 he receives a life-size picture, more beautiful
than we can make it in Europe-a picture so full of effect that
we would willingly pay double the amount if we only could get