Photomechanical - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Engraving from a Silhouette

Image of Engraving from a Silhouette

Published in the Gentleman's Magazine, July 1816. Portrait of David Williams.

Engraving from a Daguerreotype

Image of Engraving from a Daguerreotype

Portrait of Charles Keen from a Daguerreotype by Paine of Islington.


Image of Woodburytype

Twelve Woodburytypes from the Theatre magazine of 1878 - Mr & Mrs Kendal, Miss Litton, Mr Henry J. Byron, Miss Marion Terry, Mr Hermann Vezin, Miss Roselle, Mr Farren, Miss Fowler, Mr Terry, Mr Henry Irving, Ellen Terry.

The Woodburytype process was developed by Walter Bentley Woodbury (b.1834, d.1885) based on a series of patents from 1864. The process sits between being photographic and photo-mechanical; it can be thought of as producing carbon prints mechanically, on an industrial scale. It is a continuous-tone process, no screen or ground is used.

A relief image, from a photographic negative, was produced in bichromated gelatine, this was placed in contact with a lead block and subjected to considerable pressure in an hydraulic press. The result was a lead mould varying in depth in proportion to the tonal areas of the original subject. Pigmented gelatin was placed in the mould and transferred to paper using a press. The Woodburytype produced a continuous tone image consisting of varying depths of gelatine, as no screen or ground was required the result was indistinguishable from a carbon print. The gelatine relief could be re-used to produce further lead moulds.

Woodburytypes were normally printed on thick paper or card, they could be produced in any colour but most often they were in a sepia tone that resembled a photograph, an extra coating of gelatine or similar was often applied to the finished print. Due to the pressure needed to create the mould the images tended to be small. Woodburytypes were most suitable for high-quality reproductions and were typically used for book illustrations, cartes de visite and also lantern slides. By the 1890s its use in book illustration was declining as processes such as photogravure proved more economic.

References & Notes:
Tissandier, Gaston. History and Handbook of Photography. 1876. Gives a detailed account of how the process was used at the Goupil works in France, where it was known as Photoglyptie. Lon. Gaz. 23/3/1877, p. 2221.

Screened Photogravure

Image of Screened Photogravure

Three portraits from a series produced by the 'Home & Colonial stores Ltd.' each print was presented when purchasing a half-pound of tea.

  • Gen. Sir H.G. Smith-Dorrien by J. Russell & Sons.
  • Field Marshal Earl Kitchener by Bassano.
  • H.M. The King of the Belgians.

The image on the right shows the surface of the print taken with a microscope magnification of 48x.


Image of Collotype

Forty-three prints approximately 6" x 8 ½", brown or black tone. Views or architectural subjects by Valentine, Frith and Davies.


Brunner & Hauser


Image of Phototype

Two prints captioned 'Vues Suisses', No. 47 - Barque du Lac Léman, No. 40 - Veytaux Chillon. 6 ⅜" x 3 ¾". Phototype was an alternative name for Collotype.

The image on the right shows the surface of the print taken with a microscope magnification of 48x.


Photochrom Co. Ltd.



Image of Photochrom

'12121 - Irish Colleen' 9" x 6 ½".

Pirelli 1968 Calendar

Image of Pirelli 1968 Calendar

Offset Colour Process using a half-tone screen. The photographs are by Harri Peccinotti, the printers are Mears Caldwell Hacker Ltd. 16 ½" x 16 ½" images.

The image on the right shows the surface of the print taken with a microscope magnification of 48x.

Half-tone Block

Copper mounted on thick plywood. The image shows a house. 3" x 4 ½".






Calotype & Salt Prints

Cartes de Visite

Cabinet & Studio Mounts

Carte de Visite Album

Stereo Cards and Diapositives


'Hold to Light' Photographs


Colour Processes


Illustrated Books

Novelty Photographs


Lantern Slides

Film Strips

Wet-plate Negatives

Dry-plate Negatives