of death! We may envy your dear suffering child, my Laura,，
Polishing the Daguerreotype Plate.--I shall endeavor to present to the reader the process I have found productive of good and satisfactory results, presenting the same in a clear and concise manner, so that any one, by following the various manipulations given, will be enabled to succeed. If there is any one part of the process in Daguerreotype in which operators fail more than all others, it is in not properly preparing the plate. It has truly been said that it would take a volume to describe all the methods that have been suggested for polishing the plate.
I shall confine myself to the following description, which has been successfully practised, also most generally adopted by our operators, and I believe equal, if not superior to any other method, yet at the same time it is not of so much importance what particular method is employed, so that it be thoroughly and skillfully carried out.
There is a general tendency with beginners to slight this operation; hence the necessity of adopting a system which precludes the possibility of doing so. During many years' study and practice in the art, I have tried numerous methods and substances for the better accomplishment of the end in view, and have finally settled upon the following, as being (so far as experience allows me to Judge) the modus operandi, best suited to all circumstances; under no condition would I approve of a method less rigorous or precise.
The operator being provided with a bottle of finely prepared rotten stone, cover the mouth of the bottle with a piece of thick paper, this perforated with a pin so that the rotten stone can be dusted on the plate. Fasten the plate on the holder, take the rotten stone (Becker's can always be depended upon), and dust on lightly until the surface is freely covered; now drop on the plate's surface a few drops of an alcoholic solution.*
*This solution is composed of equal parts of alcohol and water, for the summer, and in winter three parts alcohol to one of water; a few drops of potassa solution may be added, and is known to have a decided effect upon the plate.
Take a patch of Canton flannel; in order to prevent the moisture from the hand it should have a thick, firm texture: with this rub the plate in circles across, then back covering onehalf of the former row of circles in each crossing until you have gone over the plate and back to the point of beginning, occupying at least half a minute in the operation, for a small plate, and so in proportion for the other sizes.
Care should be observed to keep the patch wet with the alcoholic solution forming a paste on the surface of the plate; the motion of the hand should be brisk and free, not hurried, and the pressure about equal to that of a pound weight. When the cotton is disposed to adhere to the plate, and slip from under the finger, spread the fore and middle fingers a little apart, then pressing down, bring them together in such a manner as to form a fold in the cloth between them, by which means you will hold it perfectly secure.
Avoid wetting the fingers, and should they perspire, wipe them often, as the moisture penetrating the cotton and coming in contact with the plate, would cause streaks it would be difficult to remove. I will here remark that many operators use much more cotton flannel than there is need of. I have found in my experience that a single patch, about one and half inch square, will be better for cleaning a number of plates than a new piece for every plate. This is the case for the wet, and for the dryrubbing two or three pieces will be found to answer. Thus with four or five cloths a dozen plates may be prepared.
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