Flash-lamp

Last updated
1909 flash-lamp
1903 view camera 1909 Victor Flash Lamp.jpg
1909 flash-lamp
1903 view camera
Crop of patent number 636,492 Crop of patent 636492.png
Crop of patent number 636,492

The electric flash-lamp uses electric current to start flash powder burning, to provide a brief sudden burst of bright light. It was principally used for flash photography in the early 20th century but had other uses as well. Previously, photographers' flash powder, introduced in 1887 by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke, had to be ignited manually, exposing the user to greater risk.

Contents

Invention

The electric flash-lamp was invented by Joshua Cohen (a.k.a. Joshua Lionel Cohen of the Lionel toy train fame) in 1899, and by Paul Boyer in France. [1] It was granted U.S. patent number 636,492. [2] This flash of bright light from the flash-lamp was used for indoor photography in the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century.

Joshua Lionel Cohen's flash-lamp patent 636,492 reads in part,

The principle of operation of the electrical flash-lamp is linked to the shutter of an early box camera: tripping the shutter ignites the flash powder and releases the potential energy of the exploding powder causing a bright flash for indoor photography.

Uses of flash-lamp

The main purpose of Cohen's invention was as a fuse to ignite explosive powder to get a photographer's flash. [3] One of the first practical applications, however, for Cohen's flash-lamp was as underwater mine detonator fuses for the U.S. Navy. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] In 1899, the year the invention was patented, the government awarded Cohen a $12,000 contract for 24,000 [10] naval mine detonator fuses. [11] The use of the flash for photography was dangerous, and photographers could get burned hands from the flash. [12]

Electric apparatus applications

Nesbit highspeed flashlight apparatus 1910 flash-lamp detail.png
Nesbit highspeed flashlight apparatus

A 1910 brochure for the Nesbit High Speed Flashlight Apparatus says,

See also

Footnotes

  1. Panthéon de la Légion d'honneur, vol. 2, by T. Lamathière
  2. 1 2 Patent No. 636,492
  3. Beyer, p. 129 The navy thought it would make a great fuse for mines - which wasn't what Cowen had in mind - but he liked it fine when the government bought ten thousand of them.
  4. Aboutdotcom Cowen was an inventor of sorts; he developed a fuse to ignite photographic flash powder. Though the invention failed in its intent, the U.S. Navy bought up the fuses to use with underwater explosives.
  5. Joshua Lionel Cowen at a glance In 1899, he patented a device for igniting photographers’ flash powder by using dry cell batteries to heat a wire fuse. Cowen than parlayed this into a defense contract to equip 24,000 Navy mines with detonators.
  6. Invention & Technology Magazine In the 1890s Cowen invented several devices that could be powered by the newly available dry-cell batteries. One was a fuse for igniting photographic flash powder. The Navy ordered 24,000 of them to use as detonators for underwater mines.
  7. The Lionel Story Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine In 1899, he patented a device for igniting photographers’ flash powder by using dry cell batteries to heat a wire fuse. Cowen than parlayed this into a defense contract to equip 24,000 Navy mines with detonators.
  8. The History of the Flashlight Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine Cowen was an inventor of sorts; he developed a fuse to ignite photographic flash powder. Though the invention failed in its intent, the U.S. Navy bought up the fuses to use with underwater explosives.
  9. This day in Jewish History Joshua Lionel Cowen passed away. Born in 1880, he was the American inventor of electric model trains who founded the Lionel Corporation (1901), which became the largest U.S. toy train manufacturer. At age 18, he had invented a fuse to ignite the magnesium powder for flash photography, which the Navy Department bought from him to be a fuse to detonate submarine mines.
  10. The New Yorker magazine, Dec 13, 1947, p. 42
  11. Joshua Lionel Cowen at a glance
  12. Kobre, Kenneth. Photojounalism: The Professionals' Approach . Litton Educational Publishing, Inc. ISBN   0-930764-15-3.
  13. Nesbit - High Speed Flashlight Apparatus for Indoor Service, published by Allison & Hadaway (New York City) Booklet No. 2, 1910

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Incandescent light bulb Electric light with a wire filament heated until it glows

An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire filament heated to such a high temperature that it glows with visible light (incandescence). The filament is enclosed in a glass or fused quartz bulb that is filled with inert gas or a vacuum in order to protect the filament from oxidation. In a halogen lamp, filament evaporation is slowed by a chemical process that redeposits metal onto the filament, thereby extending its life.

Detonator system used to trigger explosion of a main charge

A detonator, frequently a blasting cap, is a device used to trigger an explosive device. Detonators can be chemically, mechanically, or electrically initiated, the latter two being the most common.

Percussion cap type of firearm igniter

The percussion cap, introduced circa 1820, is a type of single-use ignition device used on muzzleloader firearms that enabled them to fire reliably in any weather condition. This crucial invention gave rise to the caplock or percussion lock system.

Arc lamp a light created by electrical breakdown of gas

An arc lamp or arc light is a lamp that produces light by an electric arc. The carbon arc light, which consists of an arc between carbon electrodes in air, invented by Humphry Davy in the first decade of the 1800s, was the first practical electric light. It was widely used starting in the 1870s for street and large building lighting until it was superseded by the incandescent light in the early 20th century. It continued in use in more specialized applications where a high intensity point light source was needed, such as searchlights and movie projectors until after World War II. The carbon arc lamp is now obsolete for most of these purposes, but it is still used as a source of high intensity ultraviolet light.

Pyrotechnics science of self-contained, self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions

Pyrotechnics is the science and craft of using self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions to make heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound. The name comes from the Greek words pyr ("fire") and tekhnikos. Pyrotechnics includes, among other things, fireworks; safety matches; oxygen candles; explosive bolts and other fasteners; parts of automotive airbags; and gas-pressure blasting in mining, quarrying, and demolition.

Flash (photography) device used in photography to produce a flash of artificial light

A flash is a device used in photography producing a flash of artificial light at a color temperature of about 5500 K to help illuminate a scene. A major purpose of a flash is to illuminate a dark scene. Other uses are capturing quickly moving objects or changing the quality of light. Flash refers either to the flash of light itself or to the electronic flash unit discharging the light. Most current flash units are electronic, having evolved from single-use flashbulbs and flammable powders. Modern cameras often activate flash units automatically.

Flashlight Portable hand-held electric light

A flashlight is a portable hand-held electric light. The source of the light is usually an incandescent light bulb (lamp) or light-emitting diode (LED). A typical flashlight consists of the light source mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover to protect the light source and reflector, a battery, and a switch. These are supported and protected by a case.

Joshua Lionel Cowen American inventor

Joshua Lionel Cowen was an American inventor and the co-founder of Lionel Corporation, a manufacturer of model railroads and toy trains. Cowen also invented the flash-lamp in 1899, an early photographer's flash light source.

Fuse (explosives) part of a device that initiates function in an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition

In an explosive, pyrotechnic device, or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific, the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker whereas the term fuze is sometimes used when referring to a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components, such as a proximity fuze for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic or acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze, pencil detonator, or anti-handling device.

Squib (explosive) miniature explosive device

A squib is a miniature explosive device used in a wide range of industries, from special effects to military applications. It resembles a tiny stick of dynamite, both in appearance and construction, although with considerably less explosive power. Squibs consist of two electrical leads, which are separated by a plug of insulating material, a small bridge wire or electrical resistance heater, and a bead of heat-sensitive chemical composition, in which the bridge wire is embedded. Squibs can be used for generating mechanical force or to provide pyrotechnic effects for both film and live theatrics. Squibs can be used for shattering or propelling a variety of materials.

Carbide lamp Acetylene-burning lamps

Carbide lamps, or acetylene gas lamps, are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene (C2H2) which is created by the reaction of calcium carbide (CaC2) with water (H2O).

Mechanically powered flashlight

A mechanically powered flashlight is a flashlight that is powered by electricity generated by the muscle power of the user, so it does not need replacement of batteries, or recharging from an electrical source. There are several types which use different operating mechanisms. They use different motions to generate the required power; such as squeezing a handle, winding a crank, or shaking the flashlight itself. These flashlights can also be distinguished by the technique used to store the energy: a spring, a flywheel, a battery or a capacitor.

Banquet photography

Banquet photography is the photography of large groups of people, typically in a banquet setting such as a hotel or club banquet room, with the objective of commemorating an event. Clubs, associations, unions, circuses and debutante balls have all been captured by banquet photographers.

A pyrotechnic initiator is a device containing a pyrotechnic composition used primarily to ignite other, more difficult-to-ignite materials, e.g. thermites, gas generators, and solid-fuel rockets. The name is often used also for the compositions themselves.

Grenade Small bomb that can be thrown by hand

{{Multiple issues|

Ralph Osterhout American industrial designer

Ralph Osterhout is an American inventor, designer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Osterhout Design Group (ODG). During his career he has developed a range of products spanning toys, consumer electronics, dive equipment, furniture to devices for the Department of Defense. Osterhout is named as inventor on 260 patents and patent applications. Over the course of his career, Osterhout has developed over 2,000 different products and hundreds of separate product lines for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500s, as well as the government.

The safety fuse is a type of fuse invented and patented by English inventor William Bickford in 1831. Originally it consisted of a "tube" of gunpowder surrounded by a waterproofed varnished jute "rope." It replaced earlier and less reliable methods of igniting gunpowder blasting charges which had caused many injuries and deaths in the mining industry. The safety fuse burns at a rate of typically about 30 seconds per foot.

An artillery fuze or fuse is the type of munition fuze used with artillery munitions, typically projectiles fired by guns, howitzers and mortars. A fuze is a device that initiates an explosive function in a munition, most commonly causing it to detonate or release its contents, when its activation conditions are met. This action typically occurs a preset time after firing, or on physical contact with or detected proximity to the ground, a structure or other target. Fuze, a variant of fuse, is the official NATO spelling.

In firearms and artillery, the primer is the chemical and/or device responsible for initiating the propellant combustion that will push the projectiles out of the gun barrel.

The Type 3 81 mm mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading 81 mm (3.19 in) infantry weapon used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. The Type 3 designation was given to this gun as it was accepted in the 3rd year of Emperor Taishō's reign (1914).