Carbutt, John

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b. 1832 Sheffield, England
d. 1905 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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Anglo-American photographer and photographic manufacturer.
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Carbutt emigrated in 1853 from England to the United States, where he remained for the rest of his life. He began working as a photographer in Chicago, where he soon earned a considerable reputation and became the official photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1870 he purchased the American rights of Woodbury's photomechanical printing process and established a business to produce Woodburytypes in Philadelphia. In 1879 Carbutt set up the first successful gelatine halide dry-plate factory in America. A year later he was elected first President of the Photographers' Association of America. He began experimenting with flexible film supports in 1884 and was the first to produce satisfactory flat films on celluloid commercially. The first kinetoscope film strips used by Thomas Edison were supplied by Carbutt. Carbutt's celluloid films were exported to Europe, where nothing comparable was available at the time. He was also a pioneer manufacturer of orthochromatic plates, X-ray plates and photographic colour filters.
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Further Reading
Obituary, 1905, Journal of the Franklin Institute : 461–3. L.W.Shipley, 1965, Photography's Great Inventors, Philadelphia.
G.Hendricks, 1961, The Edison Motion Picture Myth (makes reference to aspects of Carbutt's work on celluloid).
JW

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

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