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Document number: 8334
Date: 11 Mar 1861
Recipient: HOGARTH Joseph
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA61-001
Last updated: 11th December 2009

[draft:]

March 11 / 61
Hogarth

There are some thgs I shd wish you t considr before y go t any expse in formg a Compy

In the 1st place, it is not improb that another Compy may be formd wth a view to work my invn commercly, & as my method is so much less cheaper than Mr Pretsch’s as to cost in respect of the cost of production you wd be placed at a disadvantage – In order to form metal blocks to print from like wood cuts, a certain amount of relief is required in the lines. This Mr Pretsch obtains by electrotypy, if I am not mistaken but I obtain a ^much more desable amount of relief without the expse & trouble of tht process. It is true I remember that when y were here you only saw some ^of my shallow engravings, but those are for copperplate printing

I do not thk I asked y too much for th at all unusual terms for th licse – In fact I am not vy anxious to give a license and it is only to oblige only do so to oblige, because for the reason I have mentd it might eventually be a disadvantage to me ^& might be ^k an obstacle in to the formatn of another Compy

(k) in some measure

[expanded version:]

March 11, 1861
Hogarth

There are some things I should wish you to consider before you go to any expense in forming a Company <1>

In the first place, it is not improbable that another Company may be formed with a view to work my invention <2> commercially, and as my method is so much less cheaper than Mr Pretsch’s <3> as to cost in respect of the cost of production you would be placed at a disadvantage – In order to form metal blocks to print from like wood cuts, a certain amount of relief is required in the lines. This Mr Pretsch obtains by electrotypy, <4> if I am not mistaken but I obtain a much more desirable amount of relief without the expense and trouble of that process. It is true I remember that when you were here you only saw some of my shallow engravings, but those are for copperplate printing

I do not think I asked you too much for th at all unusual terms for the license – In fact I am not very anxious to give a license and it is only to oblige only do so to oblige, because for the reason I have mentioned it might eventually be a disadvantage to me & might be in some measure an obstacle in to the formation of another Company


Notes:

1. A proposal was afoot to set up a photographic-engraving company with Pretsch and others. Talbot had been invited to join them but declined.

2. Of photoglyphic engraving.

3. Paul Pretsch (1808–1873), Austrian photographer & inventor; founder of the Photogalvanographic Company. He had taken out two patents relating to a photographic-engraving process: Producing Copper and Other Plates for Printing, No. 2373, 9 November 1854, and Application of Certain Designs Obtained on Metallic Surfaces by Photographic and Other Agencies, No. 1824, August 1855. Talbot claimed that the first part of Pretsch’s process infringed Part 1 of his own [see Doc. No: 07253. The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company (commonly, The Photogalvanographic Company), based on the work of Pretsch, was located in Holloway Road, Islington, London, from 1856-1857. Pretsch took over as manager and Roger Fenton (1819-1869), photographer & lawyer, was a partner and their chief photographer. Starting in late 1856, they published a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustratated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. Photogalvanography was uncomfortably closely based on elements of WHFT's patented 1852 Photographic Engraving but, unlike Talbot, the plates were heavily retouched by hand. Compounding the legal objections of Talbot, their former manager, Duncan Campbell Dallas, set up a competing company to produce the Dallastype. The company collapsed and near the end of 1860 Pretsch, out of money, allowed his patent to lapse. A public appeal was launched in 1861 to assist him but he returned to Vienna in 1863 in ill health, going back to the Imperial Printing Establishment, but finally succumbing to cholera.

4. The first part of Pretsch’s process used gelatine and potassium bichromate; the second part consisted of electrotyping.

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