Ponton, Mungo

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b. 1801 Balgreen, Scotland
d. 1880 Clifton, England
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Scottish discoverer of the light sensitivity of potassium bichromate.
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Employed as Secretary of the Bank of Scotland, Ponton was an amateur photographer and described details of experiments on the effect of light on potassium bichromate in May 1839, only months after the announcement of the first practicable photographic processes. In a paper communicated to the Society of Arts for Scotland (of which he was Vice-President), Ponton suggested that paper soaked in a solution of potassium bichromate could be used as a cheap substitute for paper coated with silver salts. Although Ponton's descriptions were received with interest, potassium bichromate was not widely employed at the time; his work was to be exploited later, however, in the development of permanent photographic and photomechanical printing processes.
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Bibliography
For the original announcement of Ponton's work, see Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal 1839, p. 169.
Further Reading
J.M.Eder, 1945, History of Photography, trans. E.Epstean, New York.
H.Gernsheim and A.Gernsheim, 1969, The History of Photography, rev. edn, London.
JW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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