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Document number: 8019
Date: Wed Aug 1860
Dating: nd
Watermark: 1860
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BREWSTER David
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-5398
Last updated: 9th May 2015

Dear Mr Talbot,

I thank you very much for the kind offer of your Phosphoroscope. <1> I would have accepted of your offer with great pleasure at any other time, but I am at present occupied with preparing for publication an account of some old experiments <2> which I had expected to extend, but which I can now only revise.

I expect to be at Allerly <3> on Thursday the 23rd, where I shall look at your paper on Spectral Analysis. <4> Are you satisfied with Kirchhoff’s account of these in the last No of the Phil. Magazine. <5> I shall be at 7 Greenhill Gardens <6> till the 23d and would wish an answer to the above question.

I am Ever Most Truly yours
D Brewster

College <7>


1. A device invented by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel (1820–91), for the measurement of phosphorescence.

2. Probably D. Brewster, ‘Observations on the Polarisation of the Atmosphere made at St Andrews in 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844 and 1845’, Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, v. 23, 1861, pp. 211–40. Brewster was unable to extend them as he no longer lived at St Andrews.

3. Allerly, near Melrose, was Brewster’s country home from 1827 until his death.

4. W. H. F. Talbot, ‘Early Researches on the Spectra of Artificial Light from Different Sources. Some Experiments on Coloured Flames’, Chemical News and Journal of Science, v. 3, no. 73 (27 April 1861), pp. 261–63.

5. Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824–1887) and Robert Wilhelm von Bunsen (1811–1899), ‘Chemical Analysis by Spectrum-observation’, London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, s. 4, v. 20, no. 131, August 1860, pp. 89–109.

6. In the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh;Prof Peter Guthrie Tait (1831–1901), Scottish mathematician lived at No 6. Brewster had become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 1860.

7. What is now known as ‘Old College’, the oldest part of the University of Edinburgh.

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