The Daguerreian Society

March 27, 1999
Special Double Issue!

Hello fellow daguerreotypists,

"The whole daguerreotype process is a delicate one, and will not be treated with neglect. Like a spirited young woman who has been hard to entrap into the meshes of Cupid, it will treat us to an occasional flash of anger or waywardness if we are unfaithful to the obligations it imposes. It will not be tampered with nor treated with neglect. You have only to show proper attention, and study to anticipate its humors to make it as pliable as an amiable and loving girl."
      — The Photographic Art-Journal, October, 1851.
We are well into 1999. Hopefully your dagging year is as far along and sans the flashes of anger and waywardness this hobby of ours is so willingly able to provide. Sadly, there are no delicious rumors to pass on or any tantalizing scandals amongst us to report. Although, I did hear that Tom Story might come out of retirement (after all those 11x14s he deserved a rest) and Shlaer's Carvalho book is off to the presses. Expect to see it in about a year. With that, some meat on this otherwise thin piece of paper:

Platers. The following have recently made plates for daguerreotyping and, according to reports, with satisfactory results and reasonable prices--past performance is no guarantee of future results--dageat emptor:

Imperial Plating Company
7030 West 60th St
Chicago, IL  60638

Metal Finishing Technologies
60 Wooster Court
Forrestville, CT  06010

Quality Plating Co.
533 West 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT  84101

From our man in NYC, Jerry Spagnoli: Pyrex has come out with a product which is perfect to use as the liner for a whole plate box, its the PyrexPlus 11 cup dish, its 3 inches deep by 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 and has a smooth flat top. "I'm gonna make two new boxes just to celebrate."

Fuming box makerc (5 stars): Joe Verni 718-246-8223

Dust ever a problem? After sweating bullets to get the latest beauty unscathed and under glass, before sealing, your final inspection reveals a pesky pollutant. Whaddaya do? Hope that no one will notice? If your experience is like mine, pulling the glass automatically insures proliferation of the pest. Some would pick up a can of Dust Off, but I worry about what might come out of there. An option is an oral syringe. If a darkroom variety duster goes pfffft these babies go PFFFFFT creating a tempest in a dag case and causing the meddlesome eyesore to bite the dust. Get the Big Bertha (the bulb about 2.5" in diameter with a nozzle about 3" long) at a drugstore near you.
   If you are like me and think that regular and premium gas come out of the same tank at the gas station, the flip side of this page is for you.
Contemplate: You send plates to the plater asking for a half a mil of silver (.0005"). The plater charges a lot of money. The returned plates look silvery. But, how does one know if the thickness was as specified? The platers never seem overjoyed to do a dag plate project because it is dinky and disrupts the day to day business, the revenue is nil, and worse, the daguerreotypists are a picky lot seemingly only interested in perfection. What's a plater to do? It is easy to see a scenario where the plater goes dip, dunk and g'day.
   Rob McElroy has been working with a plater in Buffalo who has been kind enough (so far) to make some samples and work with us on our quest for perfect plates. They also have a nifty gadget that accurately measures the thickness of the silver on the finished plate. Out of curiosity, Rob had a number of plates measured in the center, 1/3 out, the edge, and the center of the back. In general, the plates were thinnest at the center and got thicker toward the edge. The back side was about half the thickness as the front. The following are the front center measurements in close did they get to .0005"?

.000846" Metal Finishing Technologies--Charlie Schreiner
.000261" Theis Plating--Tom Young
.000192" Pierre Plating--Mark Kessel
.000095" Theis Plating--Ken Nelson
.000071" 1850s plate #1
.000851" Buffalo Plater--Rob McElroy
.000056" 1850s plate #2
.000202" Pierre Plating #2--Mark Kessel
Contact Rob for more info on this data and more on Buffalo Plating.
   Pierre Plating is an interesting source and a bit of a mystery as is their rep, Peter. Peter doesn't have an office or a last name and can only be reached by phone. He won't say what or where Pierre Plating is. You call Peter up, ask for dag plates, he says no problem, and hand delivers to your door (and this is New York City!). You can pick the ones you want and discard the others and pay for those you keep. They also plate without the need for racking holes, which is a real time/hassle saver and, depending on your tastes, great for displaying the entire finished plate. $18 each for 4x5s. This is not cheap. My last batch of 5x7s, going the Daniel Smith/MFT route, was @ $17.50 each. But! Mine were not hand delivered or hand picked. So what if you are dealing with a guy in sunglasses and a trench coat (just don't ask where he gets the silver). Call Mark Kessel at 212 924 3284 to get in touch with Peter.
   The one-day Daguerreian Workshops will take place on May 1 and 2 at the GEH. The Advanced Class TBA. More info from or 716-271-3361 ext. 323.
   Check out "" the internet showcase and commercial hub of yours truly and, just down the cyber road a piece, "" that of Jerry Spagnoli.


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