link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Document number: 4540
Date: 07 Jul 1842
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: NAYLOR T W
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA42-43
Last updated: 23rd April 2010

Newcastle on Tyne
July 7th 1842

To Mr Talbot Esqr
Lacock Abbey

I have discovered the following little inventions of which I beg you forward: –

– Lowers the “lights” in Electrotyp [sic] plates done in the Woodcut Manner. I have found the “Stopping” out the Darks [sic] parts of the Picture and Electro-etching the lighter ones effectually answers the purpose the process does not deriorate [sic] very much the appearance of the picture – dilute Nit. Acid answers itself but not nearly as well –

– A new method of Engraving

A copper plate is Electrogilded and then a Brush damped with Preparation of Nitromuriatic acid Sulpher [sic], or some other substance capable of acting on the film of gold, is sprinkled by striking the handle of the Brush against a Bar held in the other hand a fine misty cloud will by this means arise and falling in a finely divided state on the plate corrodes the copp gold and leaves the copper exposed It is then bit with acid and the required parts stoppd up precisely as if it had been a prepared Aqua-tint Plate over which it has incalculable advantages: – if the picture has been for instance spoild in some part by the too copious use of the varnish it can be Easily removed without touching the “ground” of gold and if any part be found too light it can with the greatest facility be retouched and moreover far finer strokes &c can be put in than if the Aqua-tint ground had been on the plate which ground is very uneven and resembling a rough pavement. – not calculated for minute applications of the varnish-brush, while the New way is perfectly flat and


– Another Electrotype Process

Transfer a newly Printed Copper-plate or Wood-cut to a smoothe [sic] copper plate and dust Roughish Bronze Powder over the same which will adhere to the ink and raise it to a goodish height above the surface – this is used as the Matrix to receive the voltaï [sic] Copper which better can have printed impression taken therefrom

– Improvement in “Robert’s” transferred Dagerotyp [sic] pictures –

Instead of Isinglass use Albumen of Eggs and then transfer the Picture now hold the surface to the a jet of Steam when the Albumen will coagulate – now expose it to some vapor capable of Brightning [sic] the color of the mercury so as to appear more in Relief on the black paper (I have not as yet tried many Reagents [word hidden under cut seal] this way on account of my not being at liberty to do so from circumstances; I was thinking something to form a light color’d compound or Salt with the mercury will answer best) or perhaps a precipitation by votaic [sic] action of silver, oxgen [sic], or maybe these first and reagents after.) –

It was my intention to have sent those (the first one has already appeared from me) <1> for insertion in the Mechanics or other magazine, but finding myself unable from being at present out of employment of completing [sic] the experiments I am unable to do so. If you think well you may have them entirely to yourself by sending a sovereign to me as I feel confident you can make something of these little hints. – An answer in a day or two is Respectfully solicited by your Humble Servant T. W. Naylor

At R. Dent’s Pilgrim Street Newcastle on Tyne

H. F. Talbot Esqr
Lacock Abbey




1. Naylor, who had thoughts on improvements in watercolours and colouring the surfaces of metals, published at least two articles on electrotyping around this time: "Expeditious Method of Multiplying Copper-Plates by Means of the Electrotype, p. 23; "Improved Method of Producing Stereotype Plates Through the Agency of Voltaic Electricity," p. 121; The Chemist; or, Reporter of Chemical Discoveries and Improvements, and Protector of the Rights of the Chemist and Chemical Manufacturer, v. 3, 1842.