The A New Product, Sodium Thiosulphate, And Then Daguerre For His Own Daguerreotype
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In 1839, Herschel was the first to use a new product, sodium thiosulphate, to fix images forever. This was later implemented by Fox Talbot and then Daguerre for his own daguerreotype.
In 1851 Scott Archer learnt that you could use collodion -soluble guncotton dissolved in a mixture of ether and alcohol- to attach solver compounds to glass, the negative/positive process became dominate. The photographer would have to prepare the collodion glass plates and expose them while they were still wet. Processing in developer, to blacken the exposed parts, and fixing, to dissolve the remaining parts had to take place immediately. Location photography therefore required a darkroom tent. Time exposure were as always a necessary with the camera firmly secured to a tripod. This process continued to dominate for the next thirty years, Archer who selflessly donated the collodion process to posterity, died in 1857 at the age of 44, in extreme poverty.
The Daguerreotype seemed to be invincible. From 1840 a decade of success followed the Daguerreotype, a notable reduction in exposure time, it was then gradually supplanted by the process of collodion on glass that brought together great detail and the ability to produce numerous prints. Many say that the inhibiting of British photography in the first decade may have been because of Daguerre who patented his process in England. Also Fox Talbot patrolled his patents with inhibiting zeal. Unlike Fox Talbot, Daguerre had taken little active