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British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1910

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Edited by George E. Brown, F.I.C.

AMONG those whose deaths have taken place since the publication of the 1909 ALMANAC are: -
R. H. Bow (Feb. 17, 1909) Walter Tyler (July 28, 1909)
Hector Maclean (April 4, 1909) Douglas Carnegie (Oct. 1, 1909)

In the death of R. H. Bow, at Edinburgh, on February 17, 1909, another of the links connecting us with the earliest days of photography is severed. Mr. Bow had attained the great age of 82, and therefore had largely outlived the reputation of his optical and scientific investigations carried out about the middle of the last century. Indeed, many of Mr. Bow’s papers and researches did not at the time receiver the attention they deserved, and it was left Dr. von Rohr in “the British Journal of Photography” some two years ago to remind the present photographic generation of Bow’s pioneer work in photographic optics. It was R.H. Bow who, with Thomas Sutton, pointed out the true orthoscopy of a symmetrical lens for one scale of reduction only. Bow also investigated the unevenness of illumination by photographic lenses due to the thinning of the glasses at the margins, and he sought to overcome this defect by tinging the substance of the crown glass. He investigated the conditions of anastigmatism in 1853, and first published a plan of registering the results of anastigmatic calculations.

Mr. Bow also anticipated much of the later work in his views of perspective, and constructed apparatus for the correct observation of views made with a short focus lens. His papers on these subjects, as well as his masterly treatment of stereoscopic photography, appeared in “The British Journal of Photography” and in “The British Journal Almanac.” Mr. Bow was a member of the Edinburgh Photographic Society from the year of its foundation (1861) until the time of his death, and in the old days was one of its most active supporters.


By the sudden death from heart failure on April 4, 1909, of Hector Maclean there was removed from the photographic world a personality not readily replaced. Mr. Maclean was essentially a commentator on men and things. Gifted with a power of facile expression and a sense of ironic humour, he enlivened many a photographic passage at arms which, but for him, would have been dull. Without a very deep knowledge of the principles of photography he was, nevertheless, a very capable expositor of new processes and methods, and was the author of several text-books and the writer of many articles in the photographic Press. His personal interest in many articles in the photographic societies with which he was connected, formerly the Croydon Camera Club, and latterly the Sutton Photographic Club, was very actively displayed. He took a very large share in the survey and recorded work in the county of Surrey. In the “Morning Post,” to which he contributed weekly for some years a column of photographic notes, he brought the current progress in photography very simply before his lay readers, and in other ways assisted to popularise the use of the camera.


The death of Walter Tyler, head of the well-known firm of Walter Tyler, Limited, Waterloo Road, London, S.E., took place on July 28, 1909. Mr. Tyler, who for nearly forty years had been a prominent and leading member of the optical lantern trade, retired form active business life about three years ago, hoping to spend some years of ease and recreation at his residence at Teddington, but unfortunately this period of well-earned rest was all too brief. At the time of his death Mr. Tyler was 62 years of age.


The sad news contained in the London papers of October 1, 1909, came to many photographers with a sensation of grief. For the past few years Mr. Carnegie had been successfully engaged in lecturing upon scientific subjects under the University Extension Society. Yet he himself was subject to moods of depression, during which he took the most pessimistic view of his work. His death in a Darlington hotel came as a tragic ending to this strange illusion.

The son of a doctor, Carnegie was born in China but received his early education at Staveley Grammar School and at Epsom College. Form the latter place he gained an exhibition scholarship of London University, and proceeded to Caius College, Cambridge, where, after a distinguished career in science, securing a double-first in Parts 1 and 2 natural Science Tripos, he became assistant lecturer and demonstrator in the chemical laboratory of Caius College, a post which he held from 1884 to 1889. In 1890 the care of his health led him to accept the chair of chemistry in Colorado University, U.S.A., but in 1893 he returned to England to become science master at Leys School, Cambridge. For some time also he acted as research chemist to the Cambridge Colour Works, Loughton.

In photography, our readers will no doubt be aware of his work in conjunction with his friend Welbourne Piper on the action of bichromate on the silver negative image, published in the “Amateur Photographer” in 1905, experiments which led to the present chromium intensifier. His later papers on the theory of pinhole photography, on the H. and D. photometer, and quite recently, on the sulphide toning process, were published in the “British Journal of Photography.”

Among others whose deaths have taken place during the past year are: -W. E. Downey, well known in association with his father, Mr. William Downey, as the photographer of Royalty; W. D. Brigham, one of the early photographic workers in Yorkshire; G. W. Morgan, of the well-known Aberdeen firm of photographers, and inventor of the system of dry-mounting named after him; Herr von Jan, who specialized in the photography of the female form; Richard Wicks, of the Brighton Photographic Company; Dr. C. E. Merck, partner in the firm of E. Merck, of Darmstadt; Romain Talbot, the oldest member of the photographic trade in Germany; and W. Knapp, head of the well-known Halle publishing firm.