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Bierstadt patented in cover book stereo viewer


robert mcafee
 


David Starkman previously published a pdf  "An Abbreviated History of Stereo Illustrated books" by David Starkman on this forum.  He discussed some versions of early stereo books with viewers built into the cover - in particular "Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains" which was printed in 1878 using an 1876 patent by Edward Bierstadt for a book incorporating the stereoviewer into its cover.
 
Presently laid (layed?) up at home with a broken femur I rediscovered a book on my shelf "Syracuse and its Surroundings - A Victorian Photo Tour of New York's Salt City" by H.P. Smith (author of original 1878 work), edited by Robert Joki (2002 paperback re-print).  I purchased this book because I am a Syracuse, NY native.  This paperback book includes a preface about the original text "Syracuse and its Surroundings."  The balance of the book is a reprinting of the original text and the 103 stereoviews.  Unfortunately decision was made to not publish stereo image pairs but just one side of each stereo image enlarged for better viewing and avoiding the expense and need to include a viewer - ah pity.
 
I wonder how many titles were printed with the Bierstadt patented in cover viewer?  I was also surprised there were 103 stereoviews in the Syracuse book compared to only 24 views in the Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains book. The Syracuse book must have been very expensive.
 
I don't think the text of the original book is very interesting and many of the pictured buildings no longer exist.  I found the images about the salt industry in Syracuse interesting.  Syracuse is about mid-way along the Erie Canal which used to run through the center of the downtown.
 
Anyone collecting such rare stereoscopic books might be interested in one I found for sale for a mere $7,500.Results for: Keywords: Syracuse and its surroundings 
 
Inline image
 
I am also wondering if anyone here is acquainted with the editor for the paperback reprint - Robert Joki from the Saratoga Springs, NY area (at least at the time of publishing in 2002)?  He describes himself as a long time collector of Victorian stereoviews and he owns an original copy of this book from which photo graphic scans were made of the original images.
 
Bob McAfee
Syracuse, NY


David Starkman
 

Hi Bob,

Nice to know somebody read my article! :-)
 
As far as I know the "Gems of American Scenery: White Mountains" was the only stereo book like this that Bierstadt published. I could be wrong, as one would think that, having come up with a very practical design, as well as an amazing printing process* , that they would have printed more books in the same format.
 
*Besides the built-in viewer, to me the printing process, which they refer to as an 1876 patented "Artotype" process, is the most amazing thing about the book. They are not photographic, but they are the finest grain printed photos I have ever seen. I don't know quite how to describe it, but instead of the normal dot screen, there is merely a very fine texture pattern without the white space in-between the dots that we see today. And I had to use a 10x loupe to see that pattern. With the built-in viewer they look very photographic. 
 
As for the Syracuse book currently listed at $7,500, the seller indicates that possibly only 7 copies are known to have been made. Looking at the photos, and the fact that it indicates that 103 mounted albumen print stereoviews were in the book, this looks more like a book that was practically hand-made, using the maker of one of those fancy Victorian photo albums to make the basic book, and all of those prints having to be hand pasted in. I'm attaching a copy of an 1871 patent for a Stereoscopic Photo album that had a built-in viewer, and could have been the basis for this "book" design. We have one of these 1871 stereoscopic albums, and is only one of two that we have ever seen. 
 
As you have said, the Syacuse book must have been quite costly to produce, even in 1878!  Too bad that the reprint book did not choose to print the full stereo views!!!
 
We don't know anything about Robert Joki, the editor of the reprint.
 
Thanks for the question. This is a VERY RARE item we had never heard of before!
 
Best wishes,
 
-DDDavid
 


Art Clark
 

Do you have an enlarged image of part of an Artotype that shows the dot structure?

Art

On 9/18/2020 9:16 AM, David Starkman via groups.io wrote:
Hi Bob,

Nice to know somebody read my article! :-)
 
As far as I know the "Gems of American Scenery: White Mountains" was the only stereo book like this that Bierstadt published. I could be wrong, as one would think that, having come up with a very practical design, as well as an amazing printing process* , that they would have printed more books in the same format.
 
*Besides the built-in viewer, to me the printing process, which they refer to as an 1876 patented "Artotype" process, is the most amazing thing about the book. They are not photographic, but they are the finest grain printed photos I have ever seen. I don't know quite how to describe it, but instead of the normal dot screen, there is merely a very fine texture pattern without the white space in-between the dots that we see today. And I had to use a 10x loupe to see that pattern. With the built-in viewer they look very photographic. 
 
As for the Syracuse book currently listed at $7,500, the seller indicates that possibly only 7 copies are known to have been made. Looking at the photos, and the fact that it indicates that 103 mounted albumen print stereoviews were in the book, this looks more like a book that was practically hand-made, using the maker of one of those fancy Victorian photo albums to make the basic book, and all of those prints having to be hand pasted in. I'm attaching a copy of an 1871 patent for a Stereoscopic Photo album that had a built-in viewer, and could have been the basis for this "book" design. We have one of these 1871 stereoscopic albums, and is only one of two that we have ever seen. 
 
As you have said, the Syacuse book must have been quite costly to produce, even in 1878!  Too bad that the reprint book did not choose to print the full stereo views!!!
 
We don't know anything about Robert Joki, the editor of the reprint.
 
Thanks for the question. This is a VERY RARE item we had never heard of before!
 
Best wishes,
 
-DDDavid
 


Bob Aldridge
 

Don't forget the Frances Frith book "Egypt, Nubia and Ethiopia" that was published in 1862!

No viewer (well, one was offered as a separate item: "The Stereoscopes specially adapted for use with this volume, compactly folded in an elegant pocket-book form, fit for the drawing room table, price 5s. and upwards, may be had of Messrs Negretti and Zambra)

It was illustrated with 100 albumen prints glued down to the pages! Quite a bit is known about the process and even who made the prints - but I've forgotten! :-) However, as well as a slightly incomplete copy of the book (with colour photocopies in place of the missing pages), I also have 30 or 40 of the print pairs that never made it into books...

Anyway, this domonstrates that creating books with a lot of photographically illustrated images was perfectly feasible.

And, judging by the price of the viewer (5 shillings in 1962 is worth about £30 or $40 today...) the book was probably reasonably priced - but I don't know what the print run was. 100, perhaps? or 1000? I, personally, know of a few copies, so not as rare as the Syracuse book.

Bob Aldridge

On 18/09/2020 17:16, David Starkman via groups.io wrote:
As for the Syracuse book currently listed at $7,500, the seller indicates that possibly only 7 copies are known to have been made. Looking at the photos, and the fact that it indicates that 103 mounted albumen print stereoviews were in the book, this looks more like a book that was practically hand-made, using the maker of one of those fancy Victorian photo albums to make the basic book, and all of those prints having to be hand pasted in. I'm attaching a copy of an 1871 patent for a Stereoscopic Photo album that had a built-in viewer, and could have been the basis for this "book" design. We have one of these 1871 stereoscopic albums, and is only one of two that we have ever seen. 
 
As you have said, the Syacuse book must have been quite costly to produce, even in 1878!  Too bad that the reprint book did not choose to print the full stereo views!!!

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robert mcafee
 

David,
Unfortunately the auction house shows only the exterior binding.  In the paperback reprint of this book, edited by Robert Joki, there are a couple pictures of the inside cover with integral viewer (poor copy attached).  That inner cover is stamped (in gold I presume) "Patented March 21st 1876 Manufactured by Harround & Bierstadt Proprietors N.Y."

As for number of copies, the Onondaga Historical Society has a copy, Syracuse University has a copy, the editor Robert Joki has a copy and the auction house has a copy - so at least 4 survive (assume none of this were Mr. Joki's copy).  Mr. Joki estimated the selling cost at that time as likely around $100 (quite a sum for 1878).  He suggests it was probably sold by subscription and it was common to charge a wealthy family or business to feature an image of their home/business and to sell them a copy of the book.  

H. Perry Smith produced the text.  Photographers were Myron Judd and William McLeish.  Printing and binding was done by Syracuse printer Truair, Smith, & Bruce.  

Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.

The auctioneer's site has a couple scans of stereo pairs from the book.  Joki un-bound his own copy to scan the images (as some pages had separated due to the tight binding).  One reason I would like to locate Mr. Joki is to find out if he has scans of the stereo pairs he might share or sell.

So ... This is definitely the Bierstadt Patent design. 

Bob McAfee
Syracuse, N

Inline imageInline image



Bill Burns
 

Here's an 1880 pamphlet from Harroun & Bierstadt advertising the Artotype process:

"Artotypes are photographs in printing-ink"

https://digital.clarkart.edu/digital/collection/p1325coll1/id/2102

Artotype appears to have been similar to the 1855 collotype printing process:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collotype

I have not yet found an 1876 patent for Bierstadt.

--
Bill

On 18-Sep-20 4:53 PM, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
David,
Unfortunately the auction house shows only the exterior binding.  In the paperback reprint of this book, edited by Robert Joki, there are a couple pictures of the inside cover with integral viewer (poor copy attached).  That inner cover is stamped (in gold I presume) "Patented March 21st 1876 Manufactured by Harround & Bierstadt Proprietors N.Y."
As for number of copies, the Onondaga Historical Society has a copy, Syracuse University has a copy, the editor Robert Joki has a copy and the auction house has a copy - so at least 4 survive (assume none of this were Mr. Joki's copy).  Mr. Joki estimated the selling cost at that time as likely around $100 (quite a sum for 1878).  He suggests it was probably sold by subscription and it was common to charge a wealthy family or business to feature an image of their home/business and to sell them a copy of the book.
H. Perry Smith produced the text.  Photographers were Myron Judd and William McLeish.  Printing and binding was done by Syracuse printer Truair, Smith, & Bruce.
Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.
The auctioneer's site has a couple scans of stereo pairs from the book. Joki un-bound his own copy to scan the images (as some pages had separated due to the tight binding).  One reason I would like to locate Mr. Joki is to find out if he has scans of the stereo pairs he might share or sell.
So ... This is definitely the Bierstadt Patent design.
Bob McAfee
Syracuse, N
Inline imageInline image

--
Bill


robert mcafee
 

Correction Harroun & Bierstadt  patent (not Harround.)

Note Edward Bierstadt invented this improved stereoviewer integral to the book and Albert Bierstadt the painter was his brother.  Both made stereo images

American portrait and landscape photographer, and engraver. He was a brother of the painter Albert Bierstadt, and made a number of engravings of his brother's work. He opened his own studio in New York City in 1860. He also held an 1876 patent for an improvement to the Stereoscope Viewer, used for the extensive body of stereographs created by the Bierstadt brothers.

He was hired by William West Durant to take a series of photos for an advertising brochure entitled The Adirondacks, Artotype Views Among the Mountains and Lakes of the North Woods to publicize Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks.

Much of his work is simply signed "E. Bierstadt NYC."


Some information on the Artotype "The Artotype is a form of collotype, a photomechanical printing process from a gelatin surface, that was available at Bierstadt's Artotype Atelier in New York.

Info below from site MetroPostcard Guide to Postcard Printing Techniques 2 .  Some enlarged images to be seen at this link (for Art Clark's question)

COLLOTYPE
The collotype is a continuous tone printing process first patented in France by Alphonse Louis Poitevin in 1855 under the name Phototypie. It began to be used commercially as the Albertotype in 1868 after Josef Albert in Germany perfected the method, but when patented in the United States one year later it was given the name Artotype. The technique begins with a greyed glass plate coated with a photosensitive dichromate colloid gelatin that puckers and cracks as it dries. When exposed to light through a reverse negative, the lit areas harden into an insoluble nonabsorbent finish. It is the areas within the reticulated cracks that harden the most because they are the thinnest part of the emulsion. They in turn will print the darkest in proportion to the tones of the original image. The dichromate emulsion in areas with little or no exposure to light remains soluble and is washed out from the gelatin with cold water. The plate is then printed in a similar manner to a lithograph. A solution of glycerin and water is spread over the plate's surface, which is absorbed by the remaining gelatin. Areas that are to carry the dark tones absorb little or no moisture while areas for the lighter tones and non-image areas absorb the most. When greasy ink is rolled over the gelatin on the plate, the non-image areas holding the most moisture repel the ink, and the dry hardened image areas attract the ink. Once printed the reticulated pattern creates a continuous toned image of incredible detail for which it is prized.

During the 19th century the collotype process was best known as Artotype, the name given to it by Josef Albert. Many others however elaborated on the process and trade names such as Hoeschotype, Inkphot, Paynetype, Photopane, Photo-type, and Albertype abounded. Some became more widely used than others and a number of different variations on this method were used to produce postcards. In 1868 the German Max Gemoser developed an important variation, which became known as Lichtdruck. The gelatin skin was removed from his processed plates and remounted onto litho-stones for greater support during printing. Despite certain shared characteristics, collotypes are not always easy to identify do to natural variations in the drying gelatin and numerous trade secrets. With no set standard the most uncommon collotype patterns may be difficult to distinguish from photogravure.
Collotype: The fine grain of collotypes with their white centers have a barnacle like look since the ink prints from the reticulated surface the plate. Though similar to the grain of aquatint and variable in size, the wormy look caused by the gelatin curdles is usually a dead giveaway in identifying the technique. This however can only be observed under extreme magnification as the close and closer details below of the postcard above demonstrate.
The greyed glass plate used to make collotypes was a major drawback for the process; it is very fragile and its shallow gelatin surface can rarely yield more than 500 impressions. Some have claimed to have pulled 2000 images from a single collotype plate but this may be an exaggeration. For large orders a new substrate would often have to be prepared substantially adding to the cost. Gelatin plates did not age well due to their organic nature and could not be stored for long periods to print at a later date. They were routinely scraped down after printing so that the glass could be reused. This severely limited the commercial applications of this process, but it proved adequate for small press runs and was widely used in postcard production. Glass was used as a substrate because it was one of the few materials that gelatin would adhere to in a thin even coat, but after August Albert discovered a way to mount a collotype emulsion onto an aluminum plate in 1896, this medium became easier to use and was finally adapted to the rotary press. Glass plates were still preferred by some printers who continued to use them into the 1960’s. Even when working with metal plates, the delicate gelatin emulsion still needed to be treated more carefully than other substrates, which slowed down production time. Even factors such as high humidity could severely limit their production; and they were usually printed in places where the weather was more stable. Despite all these drawbacks, collotype was still used to produce more black & white postcards than any other technique.
There were no special presses built to print collotypes, perhaps due to all the secrecy that surrounded this process. The image is usually transferred to paper on a modified lithography press or sometimes on a flatbed cylinder press. Its use in commercial printing greatly expanded after 1873 when a way was found to print collotypes with steam powered presses. Though it still remains the most accurate reproductive printing method available today, the process was largely abandoned in the 1990’s in favor of high resolution digital technologies. An order placed for real photo postcards in the early 20th century might be filled with printed collotypes nearly half the time because the resulting images were so similar that the two methods were generally considered interchangeable.



Bob Aldridge
 

Interestingly, "Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains" was also published in 1878, and that - of course - was printed with a version of the "stochastic" technique (with a very fine random dot screen - almost like the grain of a lithographic limestone block). I have no idea whether this used "plates" as referred to by Joki, but clearly there was a viable printing technique available... It's actually not as crisp as the best of the albumen prints in the Frith book, but many of them are rather faded, so it's rather swings and roundabouts regarding the printed images in White Mountains vs the albumen prints in Frith. Of course, if you can unearth the original negative (as Denis Pellorin & Brian May have done for the Piazzi Smyth Tenerife book published in 1858) you can create much better prints :-)

Bob Aldridge

On 18/09/2020 21:53, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


robert mcafee
 

The White Mountains book used the Artotype process. My earlier posting gives some details of this process and a link where you can see some enlargements. 

On Friday, September 18, 2020, 07:18:26 PM EDT, Bob Aldridge <bob@...> wrote:


Interestingly, "Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains" was also published in 1878, and that - of course - was printed with a version of the "stochastic" technique (with a very fine random dot screen - almost like the grain of a lithographic limestone block). I have no idea whether this used "plates" as referred to by Joki, but clearly there was a viable printing technique available... It's actually not as crisp as the best of the albumen prints in the Frith book, but many of them are rather faded, so it's rather swings and roundabouts regarding the printed images in White Mountains vs the albumen prints in Frith. Of course, if you can unearth the original negative (as Denis Pellorin & Brian May have done for the Piazzi Smyth Tenerife book published in 1858) you can create much better prints :-)

Bob Aldridge

On 18/09/2020 21:53, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


Art Clark
 

Thanks for the link. Interesting details about the different processes.

On 9/18/2020 6:21 PM, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
The White Mountains book used the Artotype process. My earlier posting gives some details of this process and a link where you can see some enlargements. 

On Friday, September 18, 2020, 07:18:26 PM EDT, Bob Aldridge <bob@...> wrote:


Interestingly, "Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains" was also published in 1878, and that - of course - was printed with a version of the "stochastic" technique (with a very fine random dot screen - almost like the grain of a lithographic limestone block). I have no idea whether this used "plates" as referred to by Joki, but clearly there was a viable printing technique available... It's actually not as crisp as the best of the albumen prints in the Frith book, but many of them are rather faded, so it's rather swings and roundabouts regarding the printed images in White Mountains vs the albumen prints in Frith. Of course, if you can unearth the original negative (as Denis Pellorin & Brian May have done for the Piazzi Smyth Tenerife book published in 1858) you can create much better prints :-)

Bob Aldridge

On 18/09/2020 21:53, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


David Starkman
 

No. I don't.

b. 
Re: Bierstadt patented in cover book stereo viewer
From: Art Clark
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 11:32:56 CDT

 

Do you have an enlarged image of part of an Artotype that shows the dot structure?

Art

 


David Starkman
 

We don't have a copy of the Frith book, but we do have the "Tenerife" book, with the pasted in prints. In our copy the prints are very faded. While there is no question that the photographic print methods, such as the albumen print, are superior to any printing process, assuming good condition, I think what makes the Artotype stand out is that is a superior quality for a printing process, and is not prone to any kind of fading as it is an ink printing process. The images in our "Gems of American Scenery" book look just perfect - probably very little different than the day they were printed. As such it is a much more archival process for pictures this old.   - David

 
 
 
 
1d. 
Re: Bierstadt patented in cover book stereo viewer
From: Bob Aldridge
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:18:21 CDT

 

Interestingly, "Gems of American Scenery - White Mountains" was also published in 1878, and that - of course - was printed with a version of the "stochastic" technique (with a very fine random dot screen - almost like the grain of a lithographic limestone block). I have no idea whether this used "plates" as referred to by Joki, but clearly there was a viable printing technique available... It's actually not as crisp as the best of the albumen prints in the Frith book, but many of them are rather faded, so it's rather swings and roundabouts regarding the printed images in White Mountains vs the albumen prints in Frith. Of course, if you can unearth the original negative (as Denis Pellorin & Brian May have done for the Piazzi Smyth Tenerife book published in 1858) you can create much better prints :-)

Bob Aldridge

On 18/09/2020 21:53, robert mcafee via groups.io wrote:
Joki notes in 1878 no photo-mechanical half-tone process had been invented yet that could transfer original photos to plates for printing.  Therefore the reason to used tipped in photos.


robert mcafee
 

Check the link in my posting about callotypes (from a post card website). They show original full size images and a couple different levels of magnification shown the random pattern.


robert mcafee
 

Do you think acid from the book pages may have contributed to the print fading or is this just the nature of albumen prints?