Woodbury, Walter Bentley

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b. 1834 Manchester, England
d. 1885 Margate, Kent, England
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English photographer, inventor of the Woodburytype process.
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Having been apprenticed to be an engineer, Woodbury left England in 1851 to seek his fortune in the Australian gold-fields. Like many others, he failed, and after a series of transient jobs found a post as Draughtsman at the Melbourne Waterworks. He then went on to Java, where he practised wet-collodion photography before returning to England finally in 1863. Woodbury settled in Birmingham, where like most contemporary photographers he was concerned to find a solution to the troublesome problem of fading prints. He began working the carbon process, and in 1866 and 1867 took out a series of patents which were to lead to the development of the process that took his name. Woodburytypes were continuous-tone prints of high quality that could be mass produced more cheaply than the traditional silver print. This was an important innovation and Woodburytypes were extensively used for quality book illustrations until the introduction of more versatile photomechanical processes in the 1890s. In all, Woodbury took out twenty patents between 1864 and 1884, some relating to a wide range of photographic devices. He was still working to simplify the Woodburytype process when he died from an overdose of laudanum.
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Bibliography
Woodbury took out a series of patents on his process, the most significant being: 23 September 1864, British patent no. 2,338; 12 January 1866, British patent no. 105; 11 February 1866, British patent no. 505; 8 May 1866, British patent no. 1,315; 24 July 1866, British patent no. 1,918.
Further Reading
G.Tissandier, 1876, A History and Handbook of Photography, trans. J.Thomson.
B.E.Jones (ed.), 1911, Cassell's Cyclopaedia of Photography, London (a brief biography).
J.M.Eder, 1945, History of Photography, trans. E. Epstean, New York.
JW

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

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