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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

The back of Sir William's Barraud portrait shows the kind of advertising that photo studios printed there.

A special feature of this card is the promo of a lift, a boon to older people who might be more inclined to have photo portraits taken.

Below the back of the Vienna card.






Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Cabinet Card, Dr. William MacCormack, 1882
Orig. cabinet card - Size - 11 x 17 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Another genuine autograph by Sir William, on a cabinet card made in Vienna, where no doubt he was attending some medical conference, perhaps to make a presentation.

Reality Check
- The best cabinet cards have real photos on them.

Cabinet cards are essentially a thick cardboard backing on to which the studio, which takes the photo portrait, then glues the photographic prints. You should be able to feel the edge of the photo separate from the backing.

The close-up of the eye, done with a magnifying glass, proves this is a real photo. There is no grid of dots from mechanical reproduction visible, just the variations in shading found in the emulsion surface of genuine photos.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous cabinet card of one of the most eminent 19th century surgeons, Sir William MacCormack.

Not only a fine photograph, in excellent condition, but it also carries the personal signature of Sir William to an admirer, and the date October 1883, when he signed it.

Sir William was born in Belfast, Ireland, to a renowned doctor father, and became internationally famous for his work on how to treat wounds resulting from cannon shells and gunshots to the body cavity and the intestines.

In the Franco-German War of 1870 he was surgeon-in-chief to the Anglo-American Ambulance, and was present at the Battle of Sedan. He also went through the Turco-Servian War of 1876. As a result he became a leading authority on gun-shot wounds, on which he lectured and wrote internationally. His research saved countless lives on Victorian battlefields all over the world.

He had a huge personal presence and was wildly popular in society.

In 1881 he acted as honorary secretary-general of the International Medical Congress in London, and was knighted for his services.

For five years in a row (1896-1900) he was elected President of the British College of Surgeons, an unprecedented honour.

He was created a Baronet in 1897 and appointed surgeon-in-ordinary to the Prince of Wales.

During the Boer War he went to South Africa, from November 1899 to April 1900, as consulting surgeon to the British Forces.

In 1901 he was appointed honourary sergeant-surgeon to King Edward VII.

But his intense application to his work strained him and he died suddenly in December 1901.

Cabinet cards were uniform sized 11 x 17 cm, heavy cardboard cards with - usually - a real photo portrait glued to them. They were issued by the photographer who took the picture and signed his name to them. Clients took a quantity to give to friends. Cabinet cards reached their heyday of popularity in the 1880s, and started to fall out of favour in the 1890s, as small personal Kodak cameras began to appear and people took their own photos.

Cabinet Card, Dr. William MacCormack, 1882
Orig. cabinet card - Size - 11 x 17 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Reality Check? - Autographs were not normal for cabinet cards but can be found when a card was given to a special friend.

But is the signature real, or just part of the photo reproduction, like so many autographs on photos are. In other words, a fake autograph?

One clue is that the signature runs over the edge of the photo, so it was put on after the photo was glued to the board backing.

Secondly, when you tilt the card, a real signature should not share the sheen of the photo surface around it. This one clearly shows that the signature covered the photo sheen with ink, interrupting the reflective surface of the photo with a matte finish.

Sir William's hand actually touched this very card...

Surgeon Sir William MacCormack. Bart. - 1836-1901

A fake cabinet card with a fake photo, or a photomechanical reproduction "photo." The "photo" is not pasted on separately from the printing. There is no physical edge to the "photo." The surface sheen of the picture spreads across to include the printing underneath.

With a loupe you can see the uniform grid of dots characteristica of cheap photomechanical reproductions.

So it may be as old as the genuine cabinet cards with real photos of William MacCormack. It's just mass produced and cheap.


Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Cabinet Card, Queen Victoria, 1887
Orig. cabinet card - Size - 11 x 17 cm
Found - Archdale, NC

The two cabinet cards of Queen Victoria are taken from the same original negative, but they were made almost 100 years apart. The left one is a "real" photo, taken from the original negative. The repro on the right was photomechanically reproduced, for use on a postcard, by a publisher rephotographing an original cabinet card like the one above, and then making thousands of copies with a printer. The eyes show the difference in the resulting quality and value...

Real Photo Means Few... so valuable

No matter how close up you magnify the image you see only the emulsion variations in shading of a real photo, like those on valuable cabinet cards, like the ones of Sir William above.

This was a real photo, made from the negative, handled by a darkroom attendant, who then glued it to the cardboard backing.

And here again, for comparison is Sir William's eye from two real photos (Vienna left and London below).

No grid, or screen, or uniform pattern of dots are evident here.








Everything pictorial you have in your house falls into one of these three categories. The first two are valuable, the third... oh well...

Remember, 99% of the time when you look at a picture, you are NOT looking at the original, but a copy. How the original is duped, to put it in front of you, greatly affects the value.

Manufacturing Chain - Value

RARE - Very ValuableLESS RARE - ValuableCOMMON

Manufacturing Chain - Photos

Camera Negative REAL Photo - no dotsREPRO Photo - dots

Manufacturing Chain - Original Art

Original Oil ORIG PRINT - no dots PHOTOMECH/REPRO - dots

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Great Canadian Trash Sure...

Repro Cabinet Card, Queen Victoria, c 1988 ?
Repro cabinet card - Size - 11 x 17 cm
Found - Jordan, ON

Dots Means Lots... Everyone probably has one, like Robert Bateman so-called "prints" which all show these dots...

When you go in with a magnifying glass on this photo you see the telltale, uniform grid made up of rows of dots from the half-tone screen used to make 99% of the mass produced photos, prints, calendar art, art prints, and postcards etc., in the 20th century.

This photo came off a high speed printing press that printed hundreds of copies in minutes with no personal handling of the card by anyone.

The original photo had been a cabinet card like the one on the left, but was then photomechanically reproduced by photographing the whole thing, photo and print to make a machine copying master.

This is not a "real photo" but a photomechanically reproduced copy of a photo or "repro" for short. So the dots also extend over the print section, which was included - as well as the stain over her right arm - as part of the reproduction photo made of the whole card.

Another magnification from a modern colour picture of a photo reproduction.

Dots can take a variety of shapes and pattern. The key is not the shape of the dots but the uniform rows of them, across the entire surface of the picture.

Robert Bateman nature art sold in fancy frames at one of many auctions.

A Good Investment?

Or throwing good money after bad art?

Robert Bateman nature art pictures, which have been flogged dishonestly, for decades, as "prints," which they're not, sold for several hundred dollars apiece in the 1970s, when they were heavily promoted as a "very good investment."

Reality Check - Today you can frequently pick up "Batemans" at Ontario country auctions in mint condition, in magnificent frames that cost hundreds more, for $50 to $70. We've been at auctions where large "Batemans" like that went for $20. It's calendar art, or postcard art, with a Bateman signature added. That's all folks... They're all made the same way. And, everyone has one, or two...

ebay, too, has hundreds for sale any day of the week, most of which never sell even when offered for way under $100.

These "Batemans" have nothing in common with original photos, or real "original prints" like engravings, lithographs, chromolithographs, or woodblock prints, none of which, of course, have dots like the Bateman xerox works, which are more correctly called "photomechanical reproductions," "reproductions" or "repros," or "dupes," because you've been duped into thinking you've got something you don't have - an original anything...

When 1000 is the usual Bateman reproduction run - OK 950 is what it really is, to make is sound less for the $99 crowd who hates to spend $100 - it's just calendar art with a celebrity signature added.

3-Dimensional - Informed buyers avoid so-called Bateman "prints" because they know you absolutely do not get an "original print" or "print," which only result when you press a paper on to an image cut or painted on a woodblock, steel plate, or litho stone. The paper takes on the "imprint" of the physical contact with the medium the image is on. In fact the resulting image is actually 3 dimensional. On genuine prints, as well as having length and width, there is depth of varying degrees, depending on how much of the ink is transferred to the paper during the pressing or printing by the craftsman personally doing it, for each and every print and printing.

Compare it to a rubbing. People apply paper to William Shakespeare's tombstone and personally rub it to transfer the lettering to the paper. This results in a print through rubbing by a craftsman. One of a kind.

Your lazy friend prefers to take a photo of the tombstone and makes his copies at the lab.

Same tombstone. But the rubbing produces a superior and valuable, 3-dimensional original print. The photomat produces an inferior photomechanical two-dimensional reproduction on copy paper covered with tiny dots.

There is no contact printing in a photomechanical reproduction and no third dimension in printing. So as well as lacking the colour variations of a lithograph, woodblock, or chromolithograph, there is no physical depth in a repro or Bateman "print." They are photographically flat, or two-dimensional. There is also no personal handling or printing of each print by a craftsman. The reproduction prints are, unlike prints, not pressed off individually by a craftsman, but come off the presses like newspapers, calendars, or ads for underarm deodorants. But unlike those, which are chucked on your porch by kids or unemployables, the "Batemans" are boxed by the thousands and sent to the artist so he can quickly add his signature, turning them into "gold."

Think of the difference in process another way. Go to the beach. Step in the sand with your sneaker. You have just created an "original 3-dimensional print" that you could take home and frame if you could find a way to pick it up without disturbing the sand. If you substituted paper for the sand you can.

It's a fantastic print, but unwieldy, cumbersome, and difficult to take home and make copies for neighbours. Way too expensive to do.

But book, art "print," postcard, and calendar publishers, are way ahead of you. How about making a photomechanical reproduction?

Just photograph your footprint in the sand. Sure it's a less satisfactory image but it's easier, cheaper, and everyone can get a copy - not a print but a photocopy or reproduction. This results in a two-dimensional copy of your footprint on paper, which is only a pale imitation of the real thing, in comparison to the sand casting or "paper imprint" of your footstep.

Another drawback is that in the copying process involved, the dots from the "half-tone screen" needed to transfer the image are superimposed on the photo copy.

Go ahead, get out your loupe, go count the dots on your Bateman, then quickly put it out in a yard sale and try to get $50 before it tanks even more in value... Your neighbour is about to put his out...

Think about it... You would have made a far better investment if you had invested, instead, in Bre-X Minerals stock, Nortel shares, or the morality of Canadian businessman Conrad Black (who's in jail) and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (who should be).

Below an excerpt from a professional journal that mentions Sir William.

From the US Therapeutic Gazette Monthly Journal - 1887


Abdominal section for the treatment of intra-peritoneal injuries was made the subject of an address delivered by Sir William MAcCORMACK before the Medical Society of London at its meeting held May 7, 1887 (London Lancet, May 7, 1887).

The text of the speaker's address was founded on his experience in the treatment of two cases of inträ-peritoneal rupture of the bladder produced by external violence. In both of these cases the abdominal cavity was laid freely open, the rent in the bladder closed by suture, and the peritoneal cavity effectually purified. In each instance the patient completely recovered, and two men, the subjects of a heretofore fatal injury, were restored to perfect health. (ed - our emphasis)

Injuries of the abdominal viscera may be grouped under three heads,—first, incised penetrating wounds of the abdomen implicating the intestine or other viscera; second, abdominal gunshot wounds; and, third, traumatic rupture of the intestine and viscera without external wound. Of course the great difficulty that besets the surgeon in the management of such injuries is that of diagnosis.

These lesions are almost invariably fatal, and the very difficulty of diagnosis imposes upon the surgeon the necessity for clearing up the doubt as to what the nature of the injury may be. It is, therefore, now almost universally recognized that the duty of the surgeon is to explore, first, the wound of the pañetes, if such be profound, to see whether it is perforated or not ; and, second, examine the abdominal viscera through an exploratory incision to see whether and where they are injured.

Such a treatment is now not only justifiable, but it even may be claimed that a surgeon who, called to an obscure case of severe abdominal injury, or to a penetrating wound of whatever kind of the abdominal viscera, neglects this preliminary operation, is throwing away one of the chances which might have existed for saving his patient's life.

An intestinal wound having been discovered, the proper line of treatment undoubtedly is to close it with the utmost care by the Lembert suture, as the one preferred by Sir William MacCormack, after having cleansed the peritoneum and closed the external wound. Already the statistics of the treatment of such cases have shown a successful result in ten out of eighteen stab wounds, while in thirty cases of penetrating gunshot wounds seven have been saved. (ed - our emphasis)

In the application of the intestinal suture three conditions are required to insure its successful application,—first, two adequately broad and sufficiently wide surfaces of the peritoneum must be brought into contact ; second, the mucous membrane must be excluded, for when the needle passes through the whole thickness of the gut, peritonitis generally ensues from leakage taking place along the line of the thread ; third, rapidity of execution is of extreme importance, and that form of suture is the best which can be effectually applied in the shortest time.

In the case of incised wounds of the intestine, if small and if clean cut, the edges of the incision may themselves be sutured together, and where rupture has occurred, or in the case of gunshot wounds in which the intestine is perforated at more than one point, excision of the injured locality is nearly always required.

In the case of rupture of the intestine without external wound, exact diagnosis is almost always impossible, and the chief indications for operative interference are varied by the mode of action and the severity of the violence, and the presence of prolonged and profound shock.

The duration of the shock is of greater importance than its intensity. A small and quick pulse and hurried respiration, while the temperature remains either normal or subnormal, associated with acutely severe, persistent, and localized pain, increased on pressure, indicate the serious nature of the injury.

Bloody vomit or stool, rapid tympany, the evidence of percussion, are inconstant signs, and help us but little. The jejunum and ileum are the portions of intestine most frequently ruptured, and l.he rent will generally be found just behind the part of the abdomen which has been struck,—a fact which can easily be verified by experiment. In about fifteen per cent, of the cases more than one loop of intestine is damaged, and in that case the injury generally occurs in superimposed coils. It is difficult at first to distinguish the syncope induced by hemorrhage from the shock caused by a ruptured intestine.

In the early period we shall have to arrive at a diagnosis from the nature and violence of the injury and the general condition of the patient. When peritonitis is declared, an exploratory operation is urgently indicated, as collapse comes on very quickly, sometimes very suddenly, and a few hours' delay may negative all prospect of recovery.

Absolute rest has hitherto been the chief indication for treatment. But cases do arise in which abdominal section should be practised, and an attempt made to discover and deal with the visceral wound, arrest the bleeding, and clear away the clots and extravasated blood. We should interfere when we possess a reasonable belief that the intestine is ruptured. We may in some cases properly propose laparotomy as a means of diagnosis, and, indeed, when intestinal rupture is suspected, the operation should be performed at once to afford a good prospect of success.

Exploratory laparotomy has no very serious inconvenience, and should be adopted in those cases where there are reasonable grounds for believing the intestine has been damaged, as in no other way can effective assistance be rendered to the patient.

At a later period we have not only the ruptured intestine to deal with, but a septic peritonitis, which produces the most profound depression, and often necessitates an undue curtailment of some essential step in the operation, or occasions the death of the patient before its completion. Extreme collapse, a long interval from the time of the injury, or severe coexisting damage to the spleen, liver, or pancreas, of course contraindicate operation.

The incision should be made in the middle line in all cases, and at the level which will afford readiest access to the seat of the injury. It is desirable to make it long enough to permit the surgeon to reach without difficulty every part of the interior.

According to circumstances, we may then decide to suture the intestinal wound, resect the injured portion of the bowel, or make an artificial anus. The same objections hold in regard to the latter that obtain in respect of artificial anus after gunshot injury. Where it is at all practicable, it is best to finally close the opening in the intestine and also the external wound.

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