Comments and Quotes

from the

19th Century

1862  -  Albumen process – Poor results during Lent

Mr MacPherson attributed his poor photographic results during Lent to:  

“the garbage of fish which the hens ate during Lent, and which affected the albumen so as to cause a want of success”

1867  -  Eclipse of the Sun

Mr Davies exhibited a number of photographs of the eclipse of the Sun, taken by him that morning with an exposure of 1/10 of a second to 4 seconds.

1868  -  Grisdale Washing Machine

Mr Pringle read a report on the Grisdale Washing Machine, which was generally to the effect that  

“although he thought the principle good, it had failed in their hands. The mechanical parts were weak and had broken down.”

1873  -  Experiment at AGM

The 1873 AGM, in addition to the formal business, included an experiment.  Mr Tunny directed attention to:

"an experiment in which a solution of Barytic Nitrate was said to dissolve the silver iodide thrown down from an old bath by the addition of water."  

The experiment was made in the presence of the meeting but without a result.

1876  -  Presentation Prints

Mr Yerbury suggested 

“that every Member of EPS should be presented with a print”  

In common with other photographic societies, EPS went on to provide a Presentation Print annually to each member.  This practice continued until 1908.

1880  -  Restoring old Developer

I C Burton suggested:

“Restore old developer by boiling it in a clean iron pan with nails.”

1880  -  Cameras

I C Burton suggested:

“We have want of some instrument far more scientific than anything we have as yet – something that will enable us to give a short exposure, say to one hundredth of a second without much more percentage of error than a moderately careful man is likely to have with a long exposure.”

1881  -  Gelatine that would not set

One of the EPS Members reported his problems with gelatine that would not set:

“It turned out (Anglicé) groggy, or (Scotticé) unco fow; that is it would not or could not stand firm on its legs.” 

1882  -  Popular Meeting

Looking back on the early days of photography, the speaker at one of the 1882 Popular Meetings recalled:

“When photography first became a possibility, it at once became the scientific rage of the day, just as, a  year or two ago, was the telephone.” 

1883  -  Lecture – Notes on the Green Fog

Green fog was a problem that affected gelatine.  A discussion followed on what were the most appropriate bones to use for making gelatine.  Bones from large rats in Paris sewers were recommended.

1883  -  American Tour by President

 Mr Tunny spoke of his tour of Yosemite Valley 

“carrying nearly 2 tons of impedimenta mounted on 16 mules secured under the most trying circumstances”

This tour was made 20 years before Ansel Adams was born.

1884  -  EPS:  Monthly Competitions

The President suggested monthly competitions, but restricted to amateurs with less than four years’ experience with a camera.

“This would gently lead (young Members) into the higher studies of chemistry and art, and so deliver them from many of the evils which arise from indolence and the neglect of self-culture.”

1884  -  Outdoor Photography

The Society attempted to persuade the authorities to permit photography in public gardens in Edinburgh.  The reason for forbidding photography was:

“in consequence of the great nuisance that had arisen through excursionists having photographers among their number, and bringing about a disorderly crowd.”

However, two years later, the Society received a letter from HM Board of Works, confirming that “persons taking scenic photographs in Holyrood Park shall not be interfered with in future.”

1884  -  Processing

Looking back on earlier days, one of the EPS speakers recalled:

“The collodion age with its capricious baths and laborious manipulations has practically passed away.  Many of us know nothing of the troubles and tribulations of earlier workers.”

1885  -  Darkroom

It was reported that:

“The Glasgow and West of Scotland Amateur Photographic Association had set up a darkroom off West Regent Street, Glasgow.”

So EPS began to look for premises for an Edinburgh darkroom.  Premises were suggested at the corner of George Street and Hanover Street, but only about 50 out of 500 Members were willing to pay 5/- pa for use of a darkroom.

1886  -  Suburban Tour with a Tricycle

Extracts from the EPS lecture, Suburban Tour with a Tricycle:

“Photography on wheels is assuredly making rapid progress”

“Lighting my lamp, I mounted the iron steed once more”

“The ‘Coventry-Rotary’ for safety and convenience has met with most favour.  Though the ‘Humber’ or ‘Sparbrook’ is difficult to steer, it is in other respects well suited for photographic purposes.  With a whole plate camera, tripod and six plates, I find it comparatively easy to work on a journey.”

1887  -  Outing to Dollar Glen

It was reported that EPS Members would leave on 6.25am train from Waverley:   

“It is hoped that the ladies will grace the occasion with their presence.”

1887  -  A Jaunt in Spain

Andrie Pringle gave several lectures in Scots to EPS.  He began one of the 1887 EPS Popular Lectures, 'A Jaunt to Spain' with the words:

"Ye’ll maybe hae mind that twa-three years syne I wrote ye a letter in the auld Scots tongue aboot a jaunt I was takin’ in Italy, the land o’ bawbees an’ beggars; an’ the nicht I’m gaun tae try to gie ye a bit glint intae Spain, the land o’ bulls an’ biggins an maybe o’ a geed wheen blethers.  Aye! There’s a gey lot o’ bletherin’ aboot the land o’ Spain.”

1887  -  EPS Popular Lecture with Songs

EPS Members heard in 1887:

“Mr Pringle has kindly consented to lecture.  His subject, we understand, will embrace allusion to incidents in the lives of Scott and Hogg, and the lecture will be illustrated by a series of lantern pictures of objects and localities associated with these authors.  Mr Pringle may be relied upon to sing some of the choice songs from the Ettrick Shepherd”

1889  -  Lecture:  Cycling and photography

Quote from the EPS lecture, 'Cycling and Photography':

"Cycling and photography are not identical, but they are courting each other and are generally very good friends.”

1890  -  Lecture:  Abundance of Detail

Mr Brebner began his lecture with the words – 

“Fain, without prefatory remark of any kind, would I plunge at once into my subject, but that a cruel fate forbids.  Fain alternatively would I cut my preface short, but stern necessity has otherwise decreed.”

1896  -  Call for Members to Participate

EPS Members were encouraged to participate in the Societies activities:  

“By means of these many pleasant and profitable acquaintances may be made which may prove very useful during the approaching spring and summer, when Members begin to ramble into the country in search of the picturesque, and where the company of a companion who follows the same pastime is a distinct acquisition.”

1897  -  Hand Cameras

James Patrick, EPS President commented on hand cameras in 1897:

“Only a few months ago, while spending a holiday in St Andrews, I saw glaring instances of abuse of the hand camera and instantaneous photography.  Dozens of hand cameras were pointed within a few feet of old Tom Morris (the father of golf) and it mattered not how the light was shining, the button was pressed.

This sort of thing can only be beneficial to the plate-makers, and on seeing so much waste going on, I could not help remarking, “It’s an ill wind that blaws naebody guid.”

1898  -  Popular Lecture

One of the EPS Popular Lectures in 1898 included the first public showing in Scotland of x-ray slides or 'shadowgraphs'.


Early Photography  - Other Pages