electricity to the rescue

September 1917 article on using electricity to sequentially trigger flash powder stands

Toronto. Whenever a new technology or process was announced people found ways to use it for profit. A few decades ago photographers set up multi flash units to light large areas when a shot was taken. The idea of harnessing electricity to do this was far older.

In the early years of the last century when home ¬†electricity was new. the American magazine,”The Electrical Experimenter” published many ways electricity could be used. For example, in its September 1917 issue EE showed an article called, “Electricity Operates Panorama Camera and Flashlights Automatically“, showing a suitcase sized controller that sequentially ignited stands of flash powder.

As a panoramic camera rotated, each flash stand was triggered to evenly illuminate a large indoor commercial area, in this case a room full of electrical power generators, one flash at a time.

The article suggests the camera was also operated by electricity although  such cameras commonly used gears and springs to circle an area. This article and idea is from my good friend and fellow PHSC fan George Dunbar. George is pursuing his natural curiosity with a photo history bias and shares many of his findings with other PHSC members.

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