Daguerreian Society

During the month of March in the year 1892, the following article 
appeared in the "American Journal of Photography" (Philadelphia, Julius 
Sachse, edit.) Vol. 13, No. 137 (March 1892) pp. 127-128:
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GEORGE FRANCIS SCHREIBER, who thirty-five years ago was a prominent 
photographer of this city, and well known throughout the country as a 
photographer, died recently of bronchitis, the outcome of an attack of 
la grippe.  Mr. Schreiber was almost eighty-nine years of age, and was 
sick but a few days.  He leaves eight children, six of whom are 
stalwart sons and finished photographers.
   Mr. Schreiber was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main January 10th, 1803, 
received an elementary education, and learned the trade of a printer, 
working afterwards as a journeyman at Bremen, Hamburg, and St. 
Petersburg.  In 1834 he came to this country, and with a Mr. Schwatka 
established a paper called "Die Alte und Neue Welt--The Old and New 
World."  Later, Frederick Langenheim, a relative of Voigtlander, a 
Vienna optician, whose descendants are famous as photographic 
instrument makers, obtained from him a camera obscura, accompanied with 
instructions for its use.  Thus provided, Langenheim entered into 
partnership with Schreiber.
   Experiments were made in taking daguerreotypes at first on the roof 
of a building on Dillwyn street, just below Willow, in 1844, the 
children of Mr. Schreiber being used as subjects and models.  When 
sufficient progress had been made a room was taken in the Philadelphia 
Exchange, at Third and Walnut streets, and later quarters were secured 
at No. 216 (old number) Chestnut street, partly occupied by James S. 
Earle as a picture store.  Here a thriving trade was carried on, and 
Mr. Schreiber so improved in the art and science that he made a large 
sectional camera, and made a view of Niagara Falls that was highly 
complimented in the award of medals, and received a flattering letter 
from Queen Victoria.
   Mr. Schreiber was constantly investigating and improving his process 
of picture-making, and at this time Fox Talbot came with his talbotype 
that revolutionized the business for a while.  Its imperfections soon 
began to retire it when, in 1848, Mr. Schreiber heard that glass had 
been used in Europe as a negative.  He went to work in great earnest, 
and in a short time succceeded in printing through glass the first 
photograph ever made in America.  These pictures were at first called 
"talbotypes on glass."  Next Mr. Schreiber used ground glass, and 
produced the hyalotype, from which were evolved the first photographic 
stereopticon views in the world.
   Successful photographic prints were not made by the firm until 
several years later.  As the art became better known the photographer 
grew fastidious, and strove to do better work.  considerable difficulty 
was experienced in developing the negatives and in giving the prints a 
clear and perfect tone.  While Mr. Schreiber was patiently striving to 
improve these matters the Langenheims withdrew from the firm, and 
Frederick went to Brazil to make daguerreotypes, while Mr. Schreiber, 
continuing the photographic business alone, removed to Fourth street 
and Harmony court.
   At this time negatives were developed by the use of gallic acid, and 
although the process was unsatisfactory and often uncertain, Mr. 
Schreiber's repeated attempts to improve upon it were not successful.  
In the mater of toning he was more fortunate, as he accidentally 
discovered a new process.
   A man named Cutting, a resident of Massachusetts, who had taken to 
photography, seeing one of these well-toned photographs, came to 
Philadelphia and offered Mr. Schreiber, in exchange for the secret of 
his thing, a process which he said would be worth millions.  Cutting's 
preparation was a solution of gun cotton in ether, known as collodion, 
which has since come into universal use in photography.  In compliance 
with a promise formerly made to his partner, Mr. Schreiber refused to 
give up his secret; otherwise his gain would undoubtedly have been 
great, both financially and in an artistic way.
   Mr. Schreiber afterwards removed to Arch street, where, under the 
name of Schreiber & Sons, he conducted a portrait studio for many 
years.  Growing tired of the whims and caprices of human subjects, he 
abandoned this branch and devoted himself wholly to the photographing 
of domestic animals.  Of late years, with the aid of several of his 
sons, Mr. Schreiber has made pictures of almost every crack bird and 
the most noted cattle and horses between the Gulf of Mexico and the 
upper border of Canada, not to mention his photographs of dogs and 
fancy fowls, while his "Studies from Nature" rank among the finest 
photographs the world has produced.--Telegraph.

*  this article was unavoidable crowded out of our last number.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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