Worlds First Photograph

Niepce First Photo

Nicéphore Niépce (1765 – 1833) was a clever French inventor and one of the major contributors to the invention of photography.

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Niepce Camera Obscura Image

He is recognized as producing the world’s first photograph in 1827 – the actual year varies from different references from 1822 to 1827. Niépce took what is believed to be the world’s first photogravure etching, in 1822 of an engraving of Pope Pius VII, but the original was later destroyed when he attempted to duplicate it. The earliest surviving photogravure etchings by Niépce are of a 17th century engraving of a man with a horse and of an engraving of a woman with a spinning wheel. Niépce did not have a steady enough hand to trace the inverted images created by the camera obscura, as was popular in his day, so he looked for a way to capture an image permanently. He experimented with lithography, which led him in his attempt to take a photograph using a camera obscura. Niépce also experimented with silver chloride, which darkens when exposed to light, but eventually looked to bitumen, which he used in his first successful attempt at capturing nature photographically. He dissolved bitumen in lavender oil, a solvent often used in varnishes, and coated a sheet of pewter with this light capturing mixture. He placed the sheet inside a camera obscura to capture the picture and eight hours later he removed the sheet and washed it with the lavender oil to remove the unexposed bitumen. He began experimenting with optical images in 1793. Some of his early experiments made images, but they faded very fast. The earliest known, surviving example of a Niépce photograph or any photograph was created in 1827. Niépce called his process heliography, which literally means “sun writing”. Nevertheless, semiologist Roland Barthes, in a Spanish edition of his book “La chambre claire”, “La cámara lúcida” shows a picture from 1822, “Table ready”, a foggy photo of a table set to be used for a meal. Starting in 1829 Niepce began collaborating on photographic processes with Louis Daguerre, together they developed the physautotype, a process that used lavender oil. The partnership lasted until Niépce’s untimely death in 1833.

Little Blue Books and Big Blue Books

Little Blue Books and Big Blue Books by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company

Little Blue Books and Big Blue Books are a series of small staple-bound books published from 1925 to 1950 by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company of Girard, Kansas and was managed by E. Haldeman-Julius and his wife, Marcet Haldeman-Julius. (Visit Our Products Page for these and other collectibles.)

Mark Twain English as she is spoke blue bookThe series included both reprints and first publications, including the first publication of “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish” by Bertrand Russell. Originally selling for a nickel or dime the Big Blue Books were published to provide a basic education for the working man and to promote American Socialism.

big blue books catalogOther titles began as early as 1919, with  the Little Blue Books series starting  around 1925. Included were reprints  of literature and philosophy. As the series continued, reprints were replaced by original materials, including courses for self improvement and legal documents. The various Haldeman-Julius pocket books series titles include: The Appeal’s Pocket Series, People’s Pocket Series, Appeal Pocket Series, Ten Cent Pocket Series, Five Cent Pocket Series, and the Pocket Series. All the books measure approximately 3 1/2 x 5 inches and were printed in standard lengths of 16, 32, 64, 96, 128 and 160 pages.

Virtual or Real Valentine?

Saint Valentines Day Commemoration

Saint Valentine’s Day more commonly referred to as Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions.

The day is named after one of the early Christian martyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted.

It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards known as Valentines. The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid.

Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards, which now compete with virtual or e-cards.

Sending virtual invitations, greeting cards and postcards has become the norm, while a good old-fashioned tangible Valentine’s Day Card may be a thing of the past. Vintage Valentine Cards are a piece of history, some of the oldest can be traced back to the mid 1700s and are rarely found in circulation. Old Ornate German Valentines Day Cards are especially desirable with their elegant embossing, fold-outs and ribbon accents, including unique valentines with cutouts and movable parts. The exchanging of valentines was a custom popularized by German immigrants in Pennsylvania in the late 1700s. The initial mass production of Valentine Cards in the US started around 1850, when a Massachusetts woman began making cards to sell as part of her business – New England Valentine Company. In 1870, George C. Whitney developed equipment for fancy embossing. After, he bought out several competitors, including Howland in 1880. Whitman Publishing Co. was one of the major American producers of valentines following World War II. Currently there are a variety of antique, vintage and collectible valentines on the market for collectors or the curious. Rare Victorian Era Valentine Cards can command hundreds of dollars, where as cards from the 1920s through 1960s can be had for around $25 to $5 on average.

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