CATALOGUE OF THE LOST: BESSIE MOUNTAIN
In 1853, Dr. Kane’s Arctic expedition was equipped with a daguerreotype apparatus. But due to the low Arctic temperatures, he was unsuccessful at securing an image. Since the daguerreotype plates resemble mirrors, Dr. Kane initially distributed the plates for his crew to use when shaving. But as the expedition slowly turned into a disaster and with the majority of the crew bedridden with scurvy, Kane assembled the blank photographic plates in the sick room so that the outside world would be reflected into the interior of the ship.
He writes, “It will yet be many days before the sun overrides the shadow
of Bessie Mountain and reaches our brig. The sick pine for him, and I have devised a clever system of mirrors to hasten his visit to their bunks.”