Monday, January 27, 2014

Photo Types – Ambrotypes


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STAR TREK MARATHON coming! First week of February 1-7, showing movies and episodes - leading up to… Geek Day 2.8 on Saturday, February 8th. Mark your calendar!!

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Check out our new blog on movies and music at: RPL's Movies and Music by Robert Finch.

Luc Picard

example of Ambrotypes

Genealogy tip for the day: Photo Types – Ambrotypes

Have you noticed yet how many of these photo types came about in the 1800’s? Some over lapped, others were successive, yet apparently many people were studying chemistry about the same time and discovered the various effects light had on chemicals that produced images. It has been an ongoing process to make photographs more stable.

Even in the 20th century, we went from black and white pictures and colored pictures, to Polaroid to digital. You probably have seen pictures even from the 20th century fade over time, or become almost monochromatic with a pink or yellow tinge or other.

So photography continues to advance and change. The biggest change is to digital which uses no chemical at all until you print it. Even then, if it is printed on a computer printer it is printed with ink and not a result of a chemical reaction. This process harks back to the days when images were produced as a positive from the start and no negative was needed. Next we are looking at the Ambrotypes of the 1800’s.

“In 1851, Frederick Scott Archer announced his wet plate collodion process. Collodion is cellulose nitrate*1 (i.e. cotton) dissolved in ether and alcohol. In order to provide the most sensitive film (fastest), the plate had to be exposed while still wet, hence its name, (Ed.: wet plate). This system provided a transparent negative and although through other methods this negative image could be made positive (as in the ambrotype), its most significant contribution was the use as a transparent negative.

“The use of the wet-plate negatives to produce positive images on albumen paper truly altered the course of photography, but the most popular use of this was the ambrotype. By backing the collodion negative with a dark material the image appeared as a positive. In some examples, dark purple, blue or red glass was used as a support, thus eliminating the need for a backing.

“Ambrotypes were presented in mounts and cases in the same fashion as daguerreotypes and because of this they are commonly mistake (sic) for daguerreotypes. It is a simple matter to distinguish between the two since ambrotypes appear as positives at all angles of viewing as opposed to the daguerreotype which is truly visible as a positive only at certain lighting angles. The popularity was from 1851 to 1880.”

The advantage of the ambrotypes were, they were cheaper and more convenient to produce than daguerreotypes and required a shorter time for exposure. *2

Ambrotype - negative                   Ambrotype - postive

Right photo is what you would see under normal viewing conditions. The left photo is what you would see if you were to shine light through the Ambrotype.

*Courtesy of
*1 Cellulose nitrate: any of several esters of nitric acid formed by the action of nitric acid on cellulose (as paper, linen, or cotton) and used for making explosives, plastics, and varnishes— Source OED
*2 source -

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Mustafa II

January 27

Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Amhed II.

Congress approves Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears."

President Abraham Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1, setting in motion the Union armies.

Foreign diplomats in Peking fear revolt and demand that the Imperial Government discipline the Boxer Rebels.

Russian General Kuropatkin takes the offensive in Manchuria. The Japanese under General Oyama suffer heavy casualties.

President Woodrow Wilson opens preparedness program.

Communists attempt to seize power in Finland.

Lenin's body is laid in a marble tomb on Red Square near the Kremlin.

A League of Nations majority favors depriving Japan of mandates.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves the sale of U.S. war planes to France.

The United States and Great Britain begin high-level military talks in Washington.

The first U.S. raids on the Reich blast Wilhelmshaven base and Emden.

NASA selects 110 candidates for the first U.S. space flight.

Military leaders oust the civilian government of Tran Van Huong in Saigon.

Three astronauts are killed in a flash fire that engulfed their Apollo 1 spacecraft.

A cease fire in Vietnam is called as the Paris peace accords are signed by the United States and North Vietnam.

The State Supreme Court rules that Nazis can display the Swastika in a march in Skokie, Illinois.

Pope John Paul says mass to one million in Venezuela.

Born on January 27

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian musical genius and composer whose works included The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Samuel Gompers, first President of American Federation of Labor.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor who ruled Germany during World War I but was forced to abdicate in 1918.

Hyman Rickover, American admiral who is considered the "Father of the Atomic Submarine."

Admiral Hyman Rickover

This week we'll feature five Americanisms. Some of these are words from the American West. For most, the origin remains obscure. Many of these are pseudo-Latin words, fanciful formations that may sound highfalutin today. Use these words to bring a certain earthy flavor to your discourse. But like spices in a preparation, a little goes a long way. Use them judiciously.



verb intr.: To speak pompously.

Pseudo-Latin alteration of blow (to boast). Earliest documented use: 1845.

"All you cinephiles who like to find grand statements and social criticism in horror movies, prepare to bloviate. It's midnight at the Tribeca Film Festival."
Neil Genzlinger; Scare Me, Sure, But Also Make A Statement; The New York Times; Apr 18, 2013.

Quote for the Day
A fellow of mediocre talent will remain a mediocrity, whether he travels or not; but one of superior talent (which without impiety I cannot deny that I possess) will go to seed if he always remains in the same place. -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer and musician (1756-1791)

Today’s Recipe
Soups for Cold Winter Days


2 1/2 pound(s) chicken (2 skinless thighs; 2 large boneless, skinless breast halves)
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon(s) Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s)
1 teaspoon(s) garlic powder
5 tablespoon(s) canola oil
12 ounce(s) andouille sausage links, sliced
4 large bell peppers (2 red, 2 green), diced
1 medium onion, diced
6 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
1 can(s) (15-ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/2cup(s) sliced frozen okra
4 cup(s) cooked rice
1/2 cup(s) fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

1.      Sprinkle chicken with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1/4 cup flour, Creole seasoning, and garlic powder. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken to bag, 1 piece at a time, and shake to coat. Transfer chicken to pot and cook over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
2.      Transfer chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate and add sausage to pot. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and onion, and cook until slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer sausage-vegetable mixture to a bowl and set aside.
3.      Wipe pot clean and set on medium-low heat. Add remaining flour and oil, and stir constantly until a deep-brown roux forms, about 10 minutes. Add reserved sausage-vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Stir in chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes.
4.      Remove chicken from pot and shred into bite-size pieces, discarding thigh bones. Return chicken to pot and add tomatoes and okra. Simmer until okra is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve over rice. Garnish with parsley

8 servings per recipe:
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber


Now You Know!