The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 7
Nov 1994


Books Microfilmed in 1910

In the October 1910 Library Journal, there is a report of an international library congress in Brussels. One of the tours on the last day took participants to a demonstration of a newly invented system for reproducing books. It is described on pages 145-146 under the heading "Micrographic Book Production."

Between the Saturday sessions a visit was made to the Hall of Sciences, where in a dark room an exhibition was given of the remarkable recent invention, applying the cinematic photograph to the condensation and reproduction of rare manuscripts and books, page by page, by the Goldschmidt process. This consists of the micrographic reproduction, through a concentrating lens, on a continuous celluloid film such as is used in the cinematograph or moving picture apparatus of the successive pages of a book or manuscript. This micrographic record, when treated by the usual fixative process, becomes a permanent record of the work in extremely small compass in analogy with the visual impression made on the human brain. To reproduce the book an enlarged image is thrown by the usual projecting apparatus, but vertically on a screen from which the enlargement may be read or studied, or a sensitive plate, in any desired enlargement, from which photographic prints may be made in the size of the original book or manuscript or any other size. The photograph and printing process may, of course, be rapidly developed, as was done in presence of the company, and the value of this work for preserving copies of unique manuscripts or rare books, and putting them at the service of the public, was instantly appreciated by the observers.

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