Joseph-Nicéphore Niepce (1765-1833) Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) John William Draper (1811-82) William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77)

TLW's Photography Historyscope

By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™

© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.

Original Pub. Date: Oct. 5, 2015. Last Update: Apr. 18, 2017.


Brownie Camera, 1900 Edwin Herbert Land (1909-91) Polaroid Land Camera, 1947 Instamatic 100, 1963

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What Is A Historyscope?


Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to photography history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.

Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805)

In 1802 English chemist Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805), son of Josiah Wedgwood makes the first photograph using paper coated with silver nitrate, causing his acquaintance Humphry Davy to pub. a paper on it, after which the search for a fixing agent begins - send us your pictures?

Joseph-Nicéphore Niepce (1765-1833)

In June 1827 the first successful photograph (which he calls "heliograph") is produced by Joseph Nicephore Niepce (Nicéphore Niépce) (1765-1833) in France; it uses bitumen of Judea coated on pewter plates in a camera obscura facing a window of his estate, imaging a blurry bldg., tree, and barn after eight hours of exposure, becoming the oldest surviving photography of a real-world scene; he produced foggy photographs as early as 1822.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77)

In 1835 English physicist William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) In takes the earliest known negative photograph using paper coated with silver chloride in a camera obscura, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, and later claims to have invented photography ahead of Daguerre; he later waxes the negative, places it over another coated paper, and exposes it to sunlight to produce a positive image, becoming the first to produce multiple copies from one negative, and the first to make paper photographs ("negative positives"), which develops into modern photography, while Daguerrotypes prove to be a dead end?

Louis Daguerre (1789-1851)

In 1837 French painter Louis Jacques Mande (Mandé) Daguerre (1789-1851) invents the "miraculous" reduced exposure time Daguerreotype process of photography using a silver iodide coating on copper plates, developed with mercury fumes and washed with a salt solution to prevent darkening; he doesn't present it to the public until 1839. On Jan. 7, 1839 after partnering with Nicephore Niepce in 1829, Daguerre gives his first public demonstration of his new photographic process, and it becomes an instant hit, launching "daguerréotypomanie"; "An hour later, all the opticians' shops were seiged, but could not rake together enough instruments to satisfy the onrushing army of would-be daguerreotypists; a few days later you could see in all the squares of Paris three-legged dark-boxes planted in front of churches and palaces." (Helmut Gernsheim); on Feb. 23 the earliest report of the Daguerrotype in the U.S. appears in the Boston Daily Advertiser, which calls it a "remarkable invention"; in Sept. Robert Cornelius of Philadelphia learns the process and begins making improvements; at least two dozen men from Norway to Brazil step forward to claim precedence over Daguerre?

John William Draper (1811-82) Dorothy Catherine Draper, 1840 'Photograph of the Moon' by John William Draper (1811-82), 1839-40 William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77)

In 1839 English-born Am. scientist John William Draper (1811-82) becomes the first person in N.Y. to use the Daguerre process, and makes photographs of the Moon; a photo he makes next year of his sister Dorothy Catherine Draper becomes the oldest photographic portrait to survive to modern times; meanwhile after Louis Daguerre's invention is announced in Jan., English inventor William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) claims priority (1835) over Daguerre in photography and argues his case before the Royal Society.

In Jan. 1846 Welsh-born Am. immigrant civil engineer John Plumbe Jr. takes the first photo of the White House.

On Sept. 24, 1848 Charles Fontayne and William Porter take the first daguerreotype of a human in Cincinnati, Ohio?

Brownie Camera, 1900

In Feb. 1900 the $1 coardboard Kodak Brownie box camera is introduced by Eastman Kodak, featuring a simple meniscus lens that takes 2.25 in. square pictures ("snapshots") on 117 roll film, becoming a giant hit and introducing cheap photography to the masses; "You push the button, we do the rest"; named after the Palmer Cox cartoons.

Leica Camera, 1924

In 1924 the 3:2 aspect ratio Leica (Leitz) Camera, developed by Oskar Barnack (1879-1936) of the Leitz Co. in Wetzlar, Hesse, Germany begins production, becoming the first mass-marketed 35mm camera (36 exposures per roll), with the motto "Small negatives - large images"; he invented it in 1913, but the war delayed production.

Leopold Godowsky Jr. (1900-83) and Leopold Mannes (1899-1964)

In 1935 Kodak introduces Kodachrome, the first multi-layered color film, developed by Leopold Godowsky Jr. (1900-83) (whose father Leopold Godowsky Sr. was a violinist and good friend of Albert Einstein) and Leopold Mannes (1899-1964); next spring it is introduced in 8mm movie film size, followed by 35mm size in Aug.-Sept., 1936; it is discontinued in 2009.

Edwin Herbert Land (1909-91) Polaroid Land Camera, 1947

Everybody can own a pic of Edwin-burgh? In 1932 Am. chemist Edwin Herbert Land (1909-91) invents Polaroid Glass, the first practical synthetic light-polarizing material. On Feb. 21, 1947 Edwin Herbert Land (1909-91) publicly demonstrates his Polaroid Land Camera, which develops its own B&W photo in 60 sec.; it goes on sale next Nov. on the day after Thanksgiving at Jordan Marsh Dept. Store in Boston, Mass., launching a craze; it takes until 1962 to go color; Land retires in 1982, and the name is dropped in 1983.

Instamatic 100, 1963

In Feb. 1963 the easy-loading inexpensive $16 Instamatic 50 camera is introduced by Kodak in the U.K., followed by the 100 model in Mar. in the U.S., complete with built-in flashgun for AG-1 peanut flashbulbs, becoming super popular and bringing low-cost photography to the masses, selling 50M units by 1970; in 1970 Magicube flash technology is introduced, with pyrotechnic detonators; in 1972 the Pocket Instamatic is introduced with a smaller 110 cartridge, selling 25M units; 1976 the Instamatic X is updated with the Flipflash system; the last units are sold in 1988.




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