Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Shadows of a Color “Photograph”, 1436

Was it really Jan van Eyck and not J.C. Maxwell who produced the first color photograph?  Van Eyck’s after all is hanging up in Bruges in the Groeninge Museum, and Maxwell’s, well, Maxwell’s dissipated in about half an hour, leaving only an historical trace.  The problem of course is that Van Eyck’s oil (“Virgin of the Canon  van der Paele”) was done 403 years before the Daguerre invention (building of course on the work of others, notably Niepce, his former partner), so it really doesn’t count because it really doesn’t exist.  His work though *does* exist, but not as a photo—it was, is, a painting, finished in 1436, and it stands in my mind as looking so much like a perfect capturing of a moment that it seems a (luscious) snapshot. 

(more…)

What Poison Gas Warnings Sounded Like, WWI

JF Ptak Science Books    Post 2564

I posted this thinking that I had never heard the sound of a gas warning siren–or any other noise-making instrument–signifying the onset of a poison gas attack during WWI.  So I went poking around the web, looking for an audio recording of one.  I did find contemporary audio of an antique instrument–this was a dreadful sound, sounding somewhat like a high-pitched pulse-jet engine.  It is an awful sound (linked below) though I am sure that it did its job very effectively.  

I haven’t yet found a contemporary recording, though I’ve got a notion that if no audio recording was made for training films and such that they may exist in movies.  

(more…)