Monday, July 2, 2018

The world's first photo booth

Another example for the point we've been making about how the period centering around the 1890s was marked not just by amazing technological advances that made headlines but also by smaller, more personal inventions and discoveries that permeated every aspect of people's lives.

For instance, getting a photograph taken was still an elaborate and expensive process in the early 1870s. 20 years later, it was something you paid a nickel for at the local arcade.

From Scientific American 1893-03-18

Of all the many uses to which the automatic selling machine has been put, that of taking photographs seems the most remarkable. And yet this is what is being done now in several public places in New York and Brooklyn by means of a nickel-in-the-slot photograph machine recently patented by Mr. Pierre V. W. Welsh, of New York City. The operation, so far as relates to the exposure, development and fixing of the picture, is entirely automatic, and the little picture which the machine throws out, after a momentary washing, appears to be a marked success over previous efforts in this direction, as judged by the excellence of the work and the rapidity with which it is effected.

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