Daguerreian Society

On this day (May 27) in the year 1871, the following article appeared in 
(the weekly) "Every Saturday" (Boston, No. II. No. 74):
- - - - - - - - - - -


One of the most interesting questions in scientific circles yet 
undetermined is the name of the original discoverer of photography, and 
certainly one of the most pertinent circumstances tending to solve the 
mystery is that which is now related of an old house at Soho, near 
Birmingham, where the renowned engineering establishment of Watt & Boulton 
was originally founded, and in which house Boulton lived.  He died in 1809, 
and on removing the contents of his library many years after, there was 
found a large figure-picture by West, which was on two sheets of paper, 
intricately cut at the joining place so that the line of union might fall 
at the edge of a shadow, and not be perceived when the two halves were put 
together to form the complete picture.  Further research also led to the 
discovery of a couple of silvered-metal plates, each about the size of a 
sheet of note-paper, precisely resembling those used by Daguerre in the 
early days of photography.  On each of these plates was a faint image of 
the house of Soho, so unmistakably taken from nature, and so evidently 
produced by the aid of light, that all experts of any authority at once 
pronounced them to be photographed pictures taken directly by means of a 
camera.  Attached to these plates was a memorandum stating that they were 
sun-pictures representing the house prior to certain alterations made in 
1791. Subsequent investigation proved that there had once been found a 
camera in Boulton's library answering in description to the kind of 
instrument required for plates of that size!  This evidence, if 
substantiated, will go far to prove that the discoveries of Niepce and 
Daguerre were anticipated by Boulton.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1997

homepage society info search
resources galleries

Copyright 1996, The Daguerreian Society -