Daguerreian Society

On this day (September 5) in the year 1840, the following article 
appeared in the "Botanico-Medical Recorder" (Columbus, Ohio) Vol. 8, 
No, 25 (5 September 1840) page 394:
- - - - - - - -


   The manner in which Daguerreotype miniature likenesses are taken, is 
thus described in the Mechanics' Magazine:
   Mr. Cornelius and Dr. Goodman are now occupied at their 
establishment, corner of Ledge Alley and Eight streets, Philadelphia, 
in taking likenesses, which are about seven by five inches, in neat 
metalic gilt frames, and are taken for five dollars.  As the likenesses 
are true, the owners are very often too little flattered by the sun to 
be pleased with his painting; but, as the French artist said to a 
friend of mine who complained that he had made him look like an 
assassin, the Heliographist might reply, "Sir, that is not my fault."
   The mode of proceeding of Dr. Goodman and Mr. Cornelius, is in this 
wise:  Out of the window of their room, having a southern exposure, is 
projected, horizontally and at full length, a large looking-glass to 
receive the rays of the sun in which are thrown up against another 
large mirror, so slanted as to throw the light against the person whose 
likeness is to be taken, sitting at the opposite side of room, with his 
face to the window.  To soften the intense light thrown on the face of 
the mirrors, which would otherwise be intolerable, there is, suspended 
from the ceiling, a circular glass plate about three-eighths of an inch 
thick, of a very deep purple tinge, which had once been used in the 
laboratory of the distinguished chemist, Dr. Hare, for exciting 
   When the operatee is seated on his chair, and subjected to the light 
transmitted thro' the purple glass, you would suppose all Mr. Cornelius 
wished was to make the fellow look "blue;" but he will be relieved from 
such apprehension very soon, as it is only necessary to sit about a 
minute; till the sun has, by his powerful pencil, transfixed every 
lineament of your features, with all their beauties and blemishes, in 
imperishable lines upon the plate of silver.  Before the person and 
about four feet in front of him, is a bureau, on the top of which is a 
mahogany tube or box, six or seven inches square and eighteen inches 
long, open at both ends.  In the end next to the person (to be 
represented) is fixed a double convex lens about the size of a common 
burning glass, but which the figure of the face and bust is diminished 
to the proper size for the plate of silver on which the likenesses are 
to be fixed.  When the person is seated, the strong light is thrown 
from the mirrors, through the purple plate, upon the face and bust, and 
reflected thence through the lens and box, and is transmitted to the 
plate of prepared silver fixed at the other end of the box.  Half a 
minute or more is sufficient to trace imperishably the delineation on 
the plate.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1999

homepage society info search
resources galleries

Copyright 1995-2005, The Daguerreian Society -