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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

Giving to Poitevin the credit of the priority of invention


seems to me that by practising economy of this kind and in various similar ways (_i.e._, where economy is necessary as, unfortunately, it sometimes is) the cost of practising our pet recreation is very materially reduced.

_W. Ethelbert Henry, C.E._

_The Gum-Bichromate Process._


Pictorial photography is answerable for the revival of this, one of the almost forgotten methods of printing. Results unacceptable to bygone requirements have been reintroduced with advantage, where suggestive individuality and artistic effect have been desired.

The gum process has an unlimited range of possibilities, it would be impossible to describe them all. The minutest details, or the broadest diffusion together with the power of working from the highest to the lowest keys of _chiaroscuro_ are values that can only be realized when the infatuation consequent on successfully working the process is experienced.

This method of printing, as with the so-called "carbon process," is dependent upon the characteristic behaviour of the chromic salts when in combination with organic substances, such as gelatine, gums of various kinds, starch, etc.

When any of these mixtures are

submitted to the action of actinic light, they become more or less insoluble.

This property was partially discovered as far back as 1798, by Vauquelin. Professor Sucrow, Mungo Ponton, Beauregard and others advanced its application to photography up to about 1840, but it was not until some ten years later that its great value as a photographic agent was definitely established.

Hunt, Fox Talbot and Poitevin, each worked indefatigably to bring the application of the chromic process to a successful issue; but to Poitevin must be accredited the honour of being the original inventor of the chromated pigment or carbon process. This brings us up to about 1855.

None of these investigators appear to have been remarkably successful, beyond having established definite, but valuable facts of the changes produced.

This want of success may possibly be accounted for by the general employment of gelatine and direct printing. It was not until Pouncey and others, about 1859, employed gum as the colloid medium, that any great advance was made.

About this time an important commission of inquiry decided that to Pouncey, Gamier and Salmon, and Beauregard the honour of producing permanent prints must be equally credited, and accordingly divided the Duc de Luyue's prize between them, giving to Poitevin the credit of the priority of invention.

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