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Photoceramic

(Fr.: photocéramique)

(1855-today) The production of vitrified photographic images, was invented by Lafon de Camarsac, who introduced it in Paris, in 1855. He used the wet collodion process to produce a silver image, and then replaced the silver with gold or platinum metal through a chemical substitution process.

In 1858, Henri Garnier and Alphonse Salmon (of Chartres) discovered that ferric citrate, exposed to light, changes its solubility and hygroscopic properties. On an exposed print, they dusted dry powder or metallic salt, which adhered only to the unexposed tacky portions. The image was fixed by rinsing in water, which removed the iron salt, but left the image relatively intact. Finally, the pigment image was coated with a rubber solution. This became known as the dusting-on or powder process, but was not directly applied to the production of photoceramics. In 1859 they abandoned the iron salt method, and switched to a hygroscopic layer of ammonium dichromate and sugar, which was to lead to a superior process. Many other improvements were discovered over the years.

Photoceramics became an important part of the industry. Permanent portraits on tombstones can be seen all over Europe and occasionally in older North American cities. They were also used as time capsules in cornerstones, in jewelry, etc. Demand for photoceramics has dropped considerably in recent years and only a few plants are practicing the art around the world. The process is mainly employed to apply children's portraits on dishes, cookie jars, etc. and full color images are now possible. One of our upcoming books will cover the subject in great details: History and Practice of Photoceramic Processes, is scheduled for publishing next year. In the meantime our Encyclopedia offers a review of the major processes and has a comprehensive listing of the literature in this field. See also camarsac' process. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx).

photoceramPlateWhite8x6e This photoceramic plate (aka. photo-porcelain), was recently purchased in the United States. Its diameter is about 265 mm and was apparently produced as a wedding gift, ca. 1900. We believe that the photographs were made by the "dusting-on-process." We welcome supplementary information from anyone who can provide it.

This photoceramic plate (aka. photo-porcelain), was recently purchased in the United States. Its diameter is about 265 mm and was apparently produced as a wedding gift, ca. 1900. We believe that the photographs were made by the carbon transfer process.