Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

1861 Steel Engraving from the Pacific Railroad Survey
after F. W. Egloffstein
Northern Slopes of the Sierra Nevada
June 30th, 1854 at 9am
Mount Shasta at distant center right. Other details of panorama 
are indicated in the detail scans.

Click on image to see scan with margins.
History Below.
Print Type:  Single-sided Steel Engraving printed on heavy paper.  A print produced by hand carving the lines of the image into a metal plate (steel, or copper that is later steel plated) with a tool called a burin.   The valleys produced by the carving are then filled with ink, and a dampened sheet of paper is pressed onto the metal plate.  The ink is transferred to the paper, producing the print.  This type of engraving was introduced in the 15th century and is a form of  intaglio printing.
Print Date:   1861.
Print Title:   Northern Slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
Artist:  Friedrich Wilhelm von Egloffstein (1824-1885/1898). Topographical draftsman who was born in Prussia.  Egloffstein served as artist and topographer to several of the exploring expeditions of the territory west of the Mississippi River.  He served with the 103rd Regiment, New York Volunteers during the Civil War, attaining the rank of Brigadier General.  Egloffstein also was known for developing the first commercial half-tone process of engraving in the United States which he described in a book published in 1857.  (For more information see: Hanson, David A. (1993) Baron Frederick Wilhelm von Egloffstein: Inventor of the First Commercial Halftone Process in America. Printing History, 15, No. 1, 12-24.)  Prepared by C. Schumann from F.W. Egloffstein.
Engraver:  Selmar Siebert's Engraving and Printing Establishment, Washington, D.C..
Source:   Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.  Made under the Direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-56.  According to Acts of Congress of March 3, 1853, May 31, 1854, and August 5, 1854.  Volume XI.  Washington: George W. Bowman, Printer, 1861.
Image Size:    29 1/2  x  5 1/8  inches.
Total Size including margins:   31 1/2  x  11 3/8  inches.   Please click HERE to view  larger scans including margins.
History: In 1853, the U.S. Congress authorized the Corps of Topographic Engineers to undertake a survey of potential rail routes between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.  This print is an illustration from the report of the survey at the 41st parallel under the leadership of Lt. Edward G. Beckwith, in the region between the Green River Valley and the Sacramento River Valley, conducted in 1854.  Beckwith's survey was a continuation of the survey at the 38th and 39th parallels headed by Captain John Gunnison, which was terminated in October, 1853 after Gunnison, artist Richard Kern and others were killed in what is now Utah.  The precisely detailed drawings of Egloffstein were coordinated with the maps produced.  The specific location from which the five panoramas were drawn is indicated on the relevant map.

To view a "thumbnail gallery" of other
engravings, lithographs and maps from the
Pacific Rail Road Survey

Courtesy of William Husson.

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