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355Re: [genphoto] Re: Ambrotype Cleanup

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  • Steve Knoblock
    Apr 7, 2000
      Here is some extra info on the Ambrotype:

      The ambrotype image requires a dark backing in order to be seen as a
      positive image. Some photographers used a sheet of dark card stock, but
      most coated the back of the glass. Some early ambrotypists merely lacquered
      the inside of the case. Others experimented with materials such as black
      velvet. The most common method was coating the back of the plate with black
      Japan lacquer.

      Often, it appears as if the ambrotype image is flaking off from the plate,
      but in most instances it is only the backing used to make the image appear
      positive that is deteriorating. This form of deterioration appears as a
      kind of mottling. After nearly 150 years, the lacquer backing has a
      tendency to crack and flake off.

      Most ambrotype plates were coated with black Japan lacquer on the side
      opposite the image. Exceptions are possible and some ambrotypists may have
      coated the image side. While such images are rare, O. Henry Mace in his
      Collector's Guide to Early Photographs (p. 67) warns that if you decide to
      scrape away the old black varnish from an ambrotype plate, you should be
      certain that the image is on the opposite side of the plate, and not under
      the varnish.

      The full article is on my web site.


      BTW I noticed that a stray piece of HTML code was actually preventing my
      site search from working. Of all things, it was asking for your email
      address! Fixed now.


      Steve Knoblock popular history
      editor@... of photography
      www.city-gallery.com and genealogy
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