go to HOME


  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

On this day (May 27) in the year 1871, the following article appeared in (the weekly) "Every Saturday" (Boston, No. II. No. 74): - - - - - - - - - - - WHO DISCOVERED PHOTOGRAPHY? 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. -------------------------------------------------------------- 05-27-97

Return to: DagNews