MOSI: MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY

Henry Roscoe (1833-1915): flashlight photography

 

Henry Roscoe worked closely with Professor Robert Bunsen, his former tutor and close friend, on developing flash photography. In 1864 they took what is reputed to be the first flashlight photograph. They used a magnesium wire as a bright light source. It was lit by a candle, but was slow-burning. The Magnesium Metal Company in Salford began to make magnesium wires and ribbons for photographers, but they were expensive. In 1887 a cheaper flash powder was developed, which was a mixture of powdered magnesium and an oxidising agent.

Henry Roscoe