122 Regent St <1>
1 4th March 1850
To H F Talbot Esqre
Mintons Tiles are made by filling a steel mould with the clay mixture in powder The mould is filled after the manner of a corn or other dry measure the material is lightly placed in until the measure is over-full the excess is removed by "striking it" off with a strait edged piece of wood the ram of the press is then brought down with great force compressing the powder into a slab of equal thickness The mould is so constructed that the bottom can be brought up level with the top of the sides by this means the slab is easy of access to the fingers so as to be easily lifted away.
The bottom of the mould is then allowed to fall back into its natural position the process of refilling & remaining is then again gone through. The mould full of powder is compressed to one half or less.
At this stage we propose to introduce the absorbent portion of the slab. The bottom of the mould with the slab upon it is to be raised within an eighth of an inch from the top of the sides This eighth will be filled up with the infusible "body" using the "striking" stick to level the surface: the ram will again descend
The eighth of powder will thus be compressed to a sixteenth of surface upon which we shall form the image.
This seems a better plan than sifting in the powder as I at first proposed. As the bottom of the mould can be brought to any height at the side any thickness of the different coatings may be obtained. -
I have not received an answer from Mr Harper. <2> Mr Colls has been here & let fall
an expression some remarks that I think worth your notice The "Assistant" is to be Mr Harper they talk of selling their pictures in the different Towns throughout England &c I thought the license would be restricted to Bond St. You reserved the wider privilege for the Regent St Establishment & for this reason 15 per cent is paid for every Landscape copy of picture &c that is made there. Now suppose Mr Colls <3> makes a view of Westminster Abbey or copies some famous picture equally accessible to both of us. Such pictures would be very saleable. If Mr Colls is allowed to distribute such pictures throughout the Kingdom by means of agents he will divide the trade with us This will be against the interest of the patentee because Mr Colls pays once for all while we pay 15 percent upon each copy sold It is thus to the interest of the Patentee that we should have an exclusive license for this particular purpose.
Mr Coll intimated a readiness to make us the means of distributing his pictures, with our own. I think this should be understood in making an agreement with them Mr Colls said something about a license to him & two assistants Mr Bingham <4> & Mr Colls seem to be the "Assistants" this is a curious proposition a mere verbal distinction. Mr Colls seems inclined to throw overboard Mr Harper not being pleased with the manner he has conducted the negociation. - Mr Bingham seems to have an idea that your claim to the Talbotype is a slight one; because Mr Read <5> used Gallic Acid in 1839.
Your claim I believe is for Gallo-nitrate with Iodide of Silver The result obtained by this combination were infinitely better than any former attempts & have not been surpassed by any new combination of elements proposed
Is not this the equitable view of the question It is the one I always urge Law is not always Justice I or I should be glad to see the question tried & set at rest.
The other day in the Times <6> there was a report of a Patent trial in which the decision was for the patentee on the ground that the invention patented was very useful & never heard of until now, by such men as Brande Dr Miller &c.
Notwithstanding the production of a book containing a process somewhat analogous but imperfect & not carried out so as to benefit the community
I remain Sir your obedt Servt
1. 122 Regent Street, London: base of Nicolaas Hennemans' Talbotype or Sun Picture Rooms, later the firm of Henneman & Malone, photographers to the Queen.
3. Richard Colls, photographer, London. At issue was Colls application for a license to practise the Calotype process commercially. Colls was applying on behalf of himself, his brother Lebbeus, and Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), English born author and photographer, mostly active in France, who was the premier reproduction photographer of his day. The negotiations fell through and in January 1852, Talbot obtained an injunction against Richard Colls to prevent him from making and selling photographs on paper. See Rupert Derek Wood, "J.B. Reade, F.R.S., and the Early History of Photography; Part II. Gallic Acid and Talbot's Calotype Patent," Annals of Science, v. 27 n. 1, March 1971, pp. 52-53 and passim.
4. See note 4.
5. Rev Joseph Bancroft Reade.
6. The Times (London).