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Document number: 3641
Date: 19 Jan 1838
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BABBAGE Charles
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA38-3
Last updated: 24th March 2012

Dear Talbot,

I have just received your beautiful drawings of crystals <1> on the eve of my annual visit to Cambridge whither they shall accompany me. I have not yet got my copy of the Transns and therefore have not yet seen the paper they illustrate. I intend shortly to put my microscope (one of Amici’s) <2> into working order and should like to profit by your experience, and perhaps add a polarizing appus – Have you described yours <3> in any of your papers – if not when you come to town which will I hope occur during the spring I shall get you to give me you aid. My interminable work scarcely leaves me any time for other pursuits, it does however itself advance and I have just commenced the description of the mathematical properties of the Calculating Engine.

With many thanks for your valuable present I am
Ever sincerely Yours

C Babbage

1 Dorset St
Manchr Sq – <4>
19 Jany 1838


1. These were described in WHFT, ‘On the Optical Phenomena of certain Crystals’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, v. 127 part 1, 1837, pp. 25–35. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife made some copies of these drawings. [See Doc. No: 03666].

2. Prof Giovanni Battista Amici (1786–1868), Italian optician & man of science.

3. WHFT’s method of placing one polarizer close to the eyepiece and another below the stage increased the contrast between the subject and the background, providing him with a better method of investigating the internal structures of crystals.

4. London.

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