Loïc Tréhédel recommends the photochemical reaction at the base of Nicéphore Niépce’s discovery of photography to solar Alchemy researchers.
On the left you can see the first photo taken by his inventor, Nicéphore Niépce, from his window in Gras in 1826. At the base of the invention of analog photography there is a reaction of a silver salt to the sun rays; specifically, the blackening effects of light upon certain substances, mainly silver, on which it acts as a decomposing power. In his book “Alchimie, antique science of demain”, 1999, Loïc Tréhédel starts from the axiom that sunlight contains pure Spiritus Mundi, which only has be collected. The concept of “catching” photons, and with photons the Spiritus Mundi/Secret Fire from the Sun light, is what is commonly known as “solar Alchemy”.
Perhaps the earliest reference to the concept of silver-based black and white photography is that of J. H. Schulze who observed in 1727 like a mixture of silver nitrate and chalk darkened being exposed to light. In 1777 C. W. Scheele discovered that when silver had been dissolved in a strong acid, the surfaces steeped in the solution became encrusted with minute particles of the metal, which in this state was darkening with increased rapidity. These facts were first ascertained and recorded in regards of chloride of silver, or silver combined with chlorine.The first more or less stable images were obtained in 1824 by Nicéphore Niepce, a French physicist, using glass plates coated with a dispersion of silver salts in bitumen (a coal derivative). In the early 1830’s, Niepce’s partner, Louis Daguerre, discovered by accident that mercury vapor was capable of developing an image on a silver-plated copper sheet that had been previously sensitized by iodine vapor. The image, which was called a daguerreotype, could be made permanent by washing the plate with hot concentrated salt solution. In 1889 Daguerre demonstrated his photographic process to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. The process was later improved by using sodium thiosulphate to wash off the unexposed silver salts.
To understand the fundamental chemistry of silver-based photography, we must look at the photochemistry of silver salts. A typical photographic film contains tiny crystals of very slightly soluble silver halide salts such as silver bromide (AgBr) commonly referred to as “grains.” The grains are suspended in a gelatin matrix and the resulting gelatin dispersion, incorrectly (from a physical chemistry standpoint), but traditionally referred to as an “emulsion,” is melted and applied as a thin coating on a polymer base or, as in older applications, on a glass plate. The figure below shows a schematic representation of the silver halide process. When light or radiation of appropriate wavelength strikes one of the silver halide crystals, a series of reactions begins that produces a small amount of free silver in the grain. Initially, a free bromine atom is produced when the bromide ion absorbs the photon of light:
Ag+Br- (crystal) + h? (radiation) → Ag+ + Br + e- The silver ion can then combine with the electron to produce a silver atom.
Ag+ + e- → Ag0.
Association within the grains produces species such as Ag2+, Ag20, Ag3+, Ag30, Ag4+, and Ag40. The free silver produced in the exposed silver halide grains constitutes what is referred to as the “latent image,” which is later amplified by the development process. The grains containing the free silver in the form of Ag4o are readily reduced by chemicals referred to as “developers” forming relatively large amounts of free silver; that deposit of free silver produces a dark area in that section of the film. The developer under the same conditions does not significantly affect the unexposed grains (1).
Preparations of gold, platinum, mercury, iron, copper, tin, nickel, manganese, lead, potash &c. were found more or less sensitive and capable of producing pictures of beauty and distinctive character.
But let’s listen to Loïc Tréhédel now: “A little amount of silver chloride or nitrate is exposed to the Sun, over a glass plaque, to its total decomposition. The salt, being turned violet, is then recycled to generate the initial chloride or nitrate, then exposed to the sunlight again. The entire operation has to be repeated over and over, for a great number of times. After every re-cycle, the salt lets a tiny black residue from which an even less residue ( some milligrams, in the best scenario) consisting of a white powder, which turns red to the light and gets oily. This substance, provides powerful transmutative properties, but unfortunately appears to be incompatible with Mercurius Philosophorum, and consequently cannot be multiplied. Our efforts went on towards other directions, particularly with a chloride or nitrate, not of a common metal though, but the alchemical sulphur from silver. Now we hope to obtain more considerable quantities from this solar fire. Some African alchemists of our acquaintance appear to get encouraging results from the study of the dissociation of copper sulfide hydrate ( CuSO4, 5H20) under the Zaire hot Sun”.
My commentary: concerning the Zairian alchemists…..and this was in 1999 ( those who know the affair, did get what I’m saying). Concerning the lack of multiplications…… a similar salts dissociation, in similar conditions, appears more successfully to be at the base of electric energy production in the project Tunur, in the Tunisian desert. Anyway, I’m not so amazed that this Mercurius-like substance cannot multiply, or pass the colors, but still has some transmutative power. In fact that appears to be a common feature among solar powders obtained under strong Sun conditions. I mean…….are we so sure that the “electrically” ionized substance obtained with this method…….can not be sufficiently “electrically” ionized to be able to “naturally” perform some wonders on metals? Folks, please, don’t let these words wither away, like water in the desert. The “Solve et Coagula” processes often applied to raw matters to magnetize them in preparatory works, are not so “concentrated”, but sometimes run along the same lines.
Anyway, Tréhédel also complains about the negligible amounts obtained. Yes, we know the drawback: something is certainly achieved by solar way, but the amount. And a certain amount would be indispensable, since we have to partition the Mercurius. But this powder, in any case, is not Mercurius, even if we see a white powder, from a black powder, ending up to turn into a red oil. In my opinion this is just an highly ionized substance. Can we get Secret Fire/Spiritus Mundi from an highly ionized substance? Yes, as I said above, during the Magnetization process, in the first-preparatory work, our raw matters undergo a kind of ionizing process, indeed ( see an Opus Magnum scheme).
The french chemist, as well as historian of Alchemy, Eugène Chevreul wrote two articles on Niépce’s discovery, in “Journal des Savants” on february-march 1873, with the title “La Vérité sur l’invention de la Photographie – Considérations sur la reproduction, par les procédés de m. Niépce de Saint-Victor, des images gravées, dessinées ou imprimées“, or the truth about the invention of photography – considerations on reproduction, by the processes by Niépce de Saint-Victor, of the engraved-handmade-printed images. Chevreul defines Niépce as the heliography inventor and then passes to talks about “argent corné” , horny silver, ” lune cornée d’argent”, horny moon, silver chloride. But we will see how Chevreul passes easily from chloride to nitrate.
Eugène Chevreul: “The first operator who had horny silver in his hands in a laboratory, must immediately see the changes it undergoes by the action of light rays. According Arago, it would be an alchemist named Fabricius, who first, in 1566, got the horny silver, pouring sea salt in a solution of a silver salt, and would have noticed the coloring of the product, by the action of light. (In Fabricius book, De Rebus Metallica, printed in 1556, it is already thoroughly discussed on a sort of silver mine called horny silver, having the horn color and transparency, and fusibility and softness of the wax. This substance, exposed to light, going from yellowish gray to purple, and at a longer prolonged action, it turns almost black; such was the natural horn silver. This salt has the remarkable property of blackening at light, blackening even faster when the striking rays are the strongest. So it was in the laboratory of an alchemist that we have to look for the historical origin of the general principle of photography. In 1777, the Swedish chemist Scheele knew that the horny silver was more sensitive to the blue and violet rays of the solar spectrum than the red rays.”