British photographic history

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W.J. Harrison (A History of Photography, 1897, Percy Lund Country Press, London) in 1895, wrote this in his article: 

Anthony's Photographic Bulletin 1896, pg 57



W. J. Harrison

He says at the very end of the article:

"Before taking leave of my subject for the present, it may be well to remark that the publication of Daguerre's delicate results temporarily threw the other photographic processes of the time into the shade, for the early paper photographs were doubtless coarse enough. Still, the first man to turn out fixed photographs upon paper was Mungo Ponton, in 1838, as published in The Philosophical Magazine of that year. His act of publication was before those of Daguerre, Fox Talbot, Niepce and Bayard. " 


Doubtless this has been debunked, but I still want to see his source. I have been able to find the July-December volume of the Philosophical Magazine of 1838 but not the January to June.  Does anyone here have access to that volume which does not seem to be online. (I could have missed it.) 

If anybody knows why Harrison was mistaken or if the Philosophical Magazine had it wrong I would be pleased to know the reasons.

Harrison had also written a book on photographic chemistry as well so he is credible.

--Dick Sullivan

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I would have thought Niepce. Once the unhardened Bitumen of Judea had been removed after exposure, surely the image would have been permanent, that is to say fixed? First monobath?

I was curious as to whether Harrison, the other one, not you John, may have been referring to an article in 1838 referring to an earlier invention. Dates about, 1822, for a first printing plate destroyed in printing by Niepce, and other is 1826, etc.  

My edition, 1888 of Harrison is not ocr'd but I am doing that now. I want to see what he says about Niepce. 

Of course,  all of this "Who's on first," is a bit silly. It's all in how you define it. 

I also believe that more than one person was working on the same ideas and Niepce was working off others as they were of him. I would not be at all surprised if Ponton was there first. 

First monobath! I like that.


Hi, I think this is a great article! Anyone who enjoys the old photos will be interested in this article too - gear you need to start retouch old photographs

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