Early Masonic Daguerreotype
This early Masonic Daguerreotype
photograph case was often thought of being made of gutta-percha the very first
type of thermoplastic to be developed.
However, photo cases were never made out of gutta-percha, but from a
combination of wood fiber and shellac mixed together to form a thermoplastic material that its
inventor called "Union" - thus the name. The man responsible for this
material was Samuel Peck. He was one of the owners of the Scoville Company,
which made these cases for photographs from leather and papier-mâché as well.
The original label inside reads: "Genuine / Union Case / Improved. / Fine Gilt and Burnished / Hinge. / S. Peck & Co. / Manufactures." It measures 3 1/2 inches tall by 3 1/4 inches wide by 3/4 inches thick when in the closed position. We haven't seen many of these come up for auction which makes them hard to value and attests to their rarity. They were mass produced which means they are in circulation. Circa 1880's - 90's
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