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The work of O'Rourke and Saenz on the photoelastic determination of quenching stresses is re‐examined and extended. A brief general discussion is given on the determination of shear stresses or stress differences in the interior of a photoelastic model from retardation patterns obtained by passing light through the entire model. A method is proposed for the cylindrical case, with no variation in stress along the axis, which is feasible at present, while the proposal for the general axi‐symmetric problem is feasible in principle. The fundamental difficulty of the general three‐dimensional model is brought out but no solution is advanced.