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Back to the future … digital photography is older than you think!

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell.
ericevans2's loves4 of 142Reversible Back Premo, Rochester Optical Company. 1897 - 1900Onondaga No.6 Folding Plate Camera, c.1900-01
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    Posted 6 years ago

    rniederman
    (323 items)

    Years back I posted a very rare Pearsall Compact Camera here on S&T (second image). It was a ground breaking design back in 1883, by the famous Brooklyn studio photographer Frank Pearsall, which established the future of bellows camera designs through to the 1970s.

    What isn’t known is that the talented Pearsall was a tinkerer and electronics experimenter who was trying to devise a way to make picture taking easier and more lifelike. Presented here is his little known attempt to digitize photography; history’s first digital camera (first picture).

    Pearsall’s contemporaries scoffed at his attempts saying that nothing would ever replace wet collodion photography or dry plates. After all, how could electricity replace the beauty of chemical based images they asked?

    So ... here in its full glory I present the hideously rare and overlooked digital back by Frank Pearsall built into his landmark camera. It was a miserable failure because computers and memory cards had not been invented; as such, digital images couldn’t be made.

    Oh well, some great ideas were simply ahead of their time.

    Besides, the user interface is really confusing!

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    Comments

    1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 6 years ago
      beautiful!!!
    2. noob, 6 years ago
      Poisson d'Avril!
    3. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, Sean!

      Thanks, noob ... :)
    4. racer4four racer4four, 6 years ago
      Fascinating.....thank you!
    5. SEAN68 SEAN68, 6 years ago
      Your very welcome Rob!!!
    6. ericevans2 ericevans2, 6 years ago
      I believe he patented it on April the 1st.? 1884?
    7. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      Eric (yep ... April 1st patent)
      David
      racer4four
      fortapache
      vetraio50
      pw-collector
      aghcollect
    8. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, Manikin!
    9. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, Michael!
    10. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, antiquerose!
    11. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, filmnet!
    12. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, pops52!
    13. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      SpiritBear
      CWfriends
    14. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Nicefice!

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