"Melanograph" - What is it?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by htmlguru4242, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I was looking at a book today that has some old pictures of my town, with descriptions under each one. One of them is described as being a "Melanograph taken on black paper".

    I've heard of many of these processes, but not this one. Does anybody know what this is (was)?
     
  2. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    The only thing I can find on this is a listing of processes that date it to 1853 and list it as an alternate method of atrograph. Interestingly enough, atrograph is listed as an alternative method ot melanograph. Perhaps it is related to carbon printing? The 'melan' part tickles something in my memory that I can't quite place but that I remember has to do with carbon printing of some type of another...

    Anyway, here is the link I have on this...

    http://www.sharlot.org/archives/photographs/19th/book/

    - Randy
     
  3. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    from a quick google search..not sure if it really explains it, and an excerpt from another search..
    http://www.ffplm.it/w%20elenco%20processi%20foto.htm

    http://sharlot.org/archives/photographs/19th/book/chapter_14_section_5.html

    and:
    >I recently found an old print in a antique (junk) shop. It measures approx
    >2.5 inches x 3.5 inches. It appears to be a ferrotype on paper. The reverse
    >is a "post card" type back. In the upper right where the stamp would go, it
    >says: "Mandel's Positive Process-No Negatives" there is also a line drawing
    >of what I assume to be the process camera. It looks like an old lantern
    >slide projector. At the bottom it says: "Copyright 1911 By The Chicago
    >Ferrotype Company". All of this text appears to have been applied with a
    >rubber stamp after )I assume) the print was made. The paper is
    >approximately the weight of modern double weight silver paper. The image is
    >that of an average family sitting on a porch (a snapshot) so it's not like
    >it was a commercial postcard of the Grand Canyon or something.
    >
    >Two photo historians at the local university looked at it, one specializes
    >in non-silver processes and the other in 19th century photography, neither
    >of them had seen one before or had heard of the process. Both did agree
    >that it appears to be a 'paper' tin-type.

    Tell them to check Melanograph and Monobath processes in my Encyclopedia
    for a clue. They are fairly common.

    I don't have my databases at hand but I am about 99% sure that this was a
    direct reversal print, popular early this century with itinerant
    photographers. It may also refer to the type of camera specifically used
    for it. I'll check tomorrow.

    Luis Nadeau
    nadeaul@nbnet.nb.ca
    Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

    http://www.usask.ca/lists/alt-photo-process/1996/alt96b/2486.html
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Aha! Here is a better listing for it...

    melanograph
    (also atrograph)
    1853, Dr. Langdell, Philadelphia; A.A. Martin, France. 1854; G.M. Campbell, England, 1854.
    Collodion print on black paper sensitized with silver nitrate; a combination, like the ambrotype, not noted for its brilliance.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It sounds like what you would get if you sat out in the sun for an hour with a negative taped to your chest.
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Cool idea! Excuse me, I'll be back in an hour...

    - Randy
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    DON'T DO IT, Randy, unless you know you REALLY want the image! I had a melanograph taken off of my back. I used a negative that I liked at the time, and processed it archivally... and I must have done a good job because it really lasted. But later in life I had second thoughts... I didn't like it anymore. The removal experience wasn't any fun.
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I think Gorbachev must have had a really serious melanograph fetish to get Southeast Asia imprinted on his forehead.