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Document number: 6140
Date: 28 Apr 1848
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: MALONE Thomas Augustine
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA48-25
Last updated: 28th November 2012

122 Regent St <1>
Apl 28/48

To H F Talbot Esqr


I have seen the process for making paper at Whatmans <2> & at Allnutt’s<3> both of Maidstone in Kent Mr Hollingsworth the proprietor of “Whatmans Mill” advised me to go to his friend Mr Allnutt as he is fond of trying experiments. –

Mr Allnutt will try flax if we particularly wish it but would rather try linen rags foreign linen is free from cotton he would make it without Chlorine, & would take every precaution to keep out pins & iron button s rings, – which often escape the “sorters” eye, & become ground & diffused through the pulp. – Having seen the whole process I am not surprised at the difficulties we have, – Mr Allnutt says a pure paper, has not been made these 20 years – such as I described to him. –

Two or three hundredweight of material is required for one experiment, this will make 10 or 12 reams folio, at something between 30/· & 40/· per ream. folio. If it does not answer for us he can get 18/– per ream for it – If bleached he could sell it for nearly as much as we give him. – colour constitutes quality with him I cannot think it would be a failure, as I saw & pointed out many things which are injurious, & for which there are remedies, & those not very expensive. –

As regards Texture I confess I cannot understand it well, Mr Allnutt thinks it may must be the cotton. – Our best paper is longer & coarser in fibre than the bad, of this they are he is certain, – yet there are reasons for having a short fibre. –

Nothing but an experiment can determine the proper length of fibre

The experiment can be commenced at once. In six weeks the paper would be ready I think it will be better If I go down at a particular stage of the process & see that nothing is done likely to injure it It is not necessary that I should be there all the time. I now know the critical period. –

Allnutt has promised to supply no one but ourselves with this paper. he will not let others avail themselves of our experience. –

at the same time he wishes us to buy all of him if it answers or he would not be troubled with it.

Will you be kind enough to write & say whether we shall give the order immediately

yours very obediently
T A Malone

Mr Allnutt was pleased with the specimens I took he recognised the Cambridge views immediately.


1. The London address of the Sun Picture Rooms, proprietor, Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.

2. James Whatmans’ Turkey Mill paper was favoured by watercolourists and was the most suitable paper available for early photography. Rag-based, its wove surface (as opposed to the more common chain-laid) provided a uniform base for prints and a patternless density for negatives. Its gelatin sizing (compared with the rosin sizing used for continental papers) was ideal for photographic chemistry. Being made by hand, there were variations between batches even in this high quality paper, and certain years were sought after. It was generally watermarked with the year of manufacture.

3. Henry Allnutt, from 1840 Pigot: Paper Manufacturers: SMITH & ALLNUTT, Lower Tovil & Ivy Mills.

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