Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,386 pages of information and 233,851 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Carbutt

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John Carbutt (1832-1905)

1832 Born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, on 2nd December.

1853 Emigrated to the USA, and started a career in photography, based in Chicago. Between 1853 and 1859 he photographed Canada's Grand Trunk Railway.

He experimented with dry-plate photography, and in 1868, he replaced the collodion albumen dry plate mixture with gelatine, and perfected the gelatine intaglio printing method.

1870 Purchased the American rights to Woodbury's photo-mechanical printing process, and in 1871 relocated to Philadelphia and established the Keystone Dry Plate Works. Carbutt's plates for lantern slides came to be highly regarded.

1879 Carbutt established the first successful gelatine halide dry plate factory in America.

1884 Began experiments with flexible film supports, and was the first to commercially produce satisfactory flat films of celluloid. He supplied Thomas Edison with his first kinetoscope film strips.

Carbutt's company produced the first orthochromatic dry plates (1886), and the first celluloid dry plates (1888).

1896 Introduced the first X-ray plates for commercial use.

Carbutt spent his later years experimenting with colour photography, and developed colour screens for process engraving. He also served as a consultant to organizations which included the Franklin Institute.

1905 John Carbutt died in Philadelphia after a brief illness on 26 July.

The above information is taken from the Historic Camera website[1] and the Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Historic Camera website - John Carbutt
  2. Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, edited by Lance Day and Ian McNeil, Routledge, 1996