William T. Innes

Last updated

William Thornton Innes III, [1] L.H.D. (February 2, 1874 – February 27, 1969) was an American aquarist, author, photographer, printer and publisher. Innes was the author of numerous influential books and hundreds of articles about aquarium fish, aquatic plants and aquarium maintenance during the formative years of the aquarium hobby in America. Born in Philadelphia, he was the founder, publisher and editor of The Aquarium, the first successful national magazine on the subject of keeping freshwater tropical fishes. The magazine ran monthly for thirty-five years from May 1932 through January 1967.

Contents

Graduating from Friends' Central School, Philadelphia, he entered the printing concern of his father, in 1895. [2] In 1899 he married Mary Weber Weaver. From the 1920s he organized aquarium shows in Philadelphia's Horticultural Hall.

Exotic Aquarium Fishes

Original

Innes is best remembered as author and publisher of the book, Exotic Aquarium Fishes, which was printed by his family's printing firm in Philadelphia in 1935 and went through nineteen editions. It quickly became the seminal work on the subject and has often been called 'the aquarium bible.' Beautifully produced with many lavish elements by his own printing firm, and written in a simple but elegant and compelling style by Innes alone, the book also included photographs taken by Innes for each of the fish species. He had decided that the Kodachrome film of the day required too much light and did not accurately show the true colors of various fishes. Instead, he shot black-and-white photographs that were hand-painted, test-printed, and then repainted to fine-tune the color for publication.

Images

These color plates, considered works of art by many, became the object of an infamous lawsuit some years later. Dr Innes was shocked to learn that Dr Herbert Axelrod had used these now-famous plates from Exotic Aquarium Fishes in a book produced by his publishing company, TFH Publications. Innes sued. He won the case in 1955, but was awarded only $1, plus court costs, since the court could not determine that any monetary damage had been done.

Later editions

Innes held the desire that the book would be updated on a regular basis, even after his death, and collaborated with younger friend and colleague, Dr. George S. Myers, to that end. After Innes Publishing ended its production of the book, other entities published more economical editions identified as the '19th edition, revised.' When Innes failed to renew the copyright of the first edition, Axelrod quickly took advantage of the situation and published a new version of the classic. All of these editions lack the production quality of the original nineteen editions published by Innes, which remain to this day highly collectable and widely used by aquarists. They can be identified by their dark green, 'leatherette' covers and binding, featuring an image of a trio of harlequin rasboras stamped in 14k gold.

Other work

Other books for which he served as author, publisher, principal photographer and printer include Goldfish Varieties and Tropical Aquarium Fishes (1917) which ran through fifteen editions by 1935; The Modern Aquarium (1929); Your Aquarium (1945); Goldfish Varieties and Water Gardens (1947); and Aquarium Highlights (1951).

Honors

Dr. Myers, who first described the neon tetra, had named that fish Hyphessobrycon innesi in honor of Innes. This popular aquarium species was later moved to the genus Paracheirodon and is now known as Paracheirodon innesi . The neon tetra is perhaps the best-known of several fish species that have been named in honor of this pioneer in the aquarium hobby. A water lily cultivar of the genus Nymphaea has also been named in his honor.

Temple University conferred upon him the Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1951.

On the occasion of Dr. Innes's 80th birthday in 1954, Dr. Myers wrote a tribute to him, in the February issue of The Aquarium, referring to William T. Innes as "the best known and most respected aquarist and authority on aquariums in the world. His books, his photographs and his influence on this field have educated millions."

An extensive collection of his writings, sketches, photographs and correspondence is housed at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Neon tetra Species of fish

The neon tetra is a Freshwater fish of the characin family of order Characiformes. The type species of its genus, it is native to blackwater and clearwater streams in the Amazon basin of South America. Its bright colouring makes the fish visible to conspecifics in the dark blackwater streams, and is also the main reason for its popularity among freshwater fish hobbyists.

Black neon tetra Species of fish

The black neon tetra is a freshwater fish of the characin family of order Characiformes. It is native to the Paraguay basin of southern Brazil. They are often found in the aquarium trade.

An aquarist is a person who manages aquariums, either professionally or as a hobby. They typically care for aquatic animals, including fish and marine invertebrates. Some may care for aquatic mammals. Aquarists often work at public aquariums. They may also work at nature reserves, zoos, and amusement parks. Some aquarists conduct field research outdoors. In business, aquarists may work at pet stores, as commercial fish breeders, or as manufacturers. Some aquarists are hobbyists, also known as "home aquarists," who may vary in skills and experience.

Pencil fish Genus of fishes

Nannostomus,, is a genus of fish belonging to the characin family Lebiasinidae. All of the species in this genus are known as pencil fish or pencilfish, a popular name that was first only applied to two species in the 1920s, Nannostomus unifasciatus and Nannostomus eques, but by the late 1950s would come to be applied to all members of the genus. Several of the species have become popular aquarium fish due to their attractive coloration, unique shape, and interesting demeanor.

Serpae tetra Species of fish

The Serpae tetra, also known as the Red Minor tetra, Jewel tetra or Callistus tetra, is a species of tetra, a tropical freshwater fish of the characin family of order Characiformes. It is native to the Amazon River drainage in Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia and northern Argentina. The fish can be found in slow moving or still backwater including, ponds, small lakes, and streams. In the wild, it forms aggregations around vegetation and tree roots, and thrives when the water temperature is 22-27 °C (72-82 °F).

Veiltail Breed of goldfish

The veiltail is a type of goldfish known for its extra-long, flowing double tail and high sail-like dorsal fin.

Celestial Eye Breed of goldfish

Celestial eye goldfish or Choutengan is a double-tailed breed of fancy goldfish that has a breed-defining pair of telescope eyes which are turned upwards, pupils gazing skyward. When the fry hatch, the eyes of young Celestials are normal but gradually protrude sideways, as in the Telescope eye goldfish, but unlike the telescope, which has eyes facing outwards on each side, the eyes of the celestial eye turns strictly upwards within a period of six months of development. This process is entirely governed by genetics, though early sources perpetuated the myth that the fish were bred and kept in narrow-necked clay jars and the eyes turned upwards seeking the limited source of light.

Fishkeeping Practice of containing fish

Fishkeeping is a popular hobby, practiced by aquarists, concerned with keeping fish in a home aquarium or garden pond. There is also a piscicultural fishkeeping industry, as a branch of agriculture.

Harlequin rasbora Species of fish

The harlequin rasbora is a small fish in the family Cyprinidae. The species became an instant favorite among aquarists after its introduction in the early 1900s and is the best known and most widely kept species among the rasboras. In 1935, an image of a trio of harlequin rasboras, stamped in 14k gold, would grace the cover of the first edition of William T. Innes's classic Exotic Aquarium Fishes and would remain so through all 19 editions.

Aquarium fish feed plant or animal material intended for consumption by pet fish

Aquarium fish feed is plant or animal material intended for consumption by pet fish kept in aquariums or ponds. Fish foods normally contain macronutrients, trace elements and vitamins necessary to keep captive fish in good health. Approximately 80% of fishkeeping hobbyists feed their fish exclusively prepared foods that most commonly are produced in flake, pellet or tablet form. Pelleted forms, some of which sink rapidly, are often used for larger fish or bottom feeding species such as loaches or catfish. Some fish foods also contain additives such as sex hormones or beta carotene to artificially enhance the color of ornamental fish.

Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine is a bimonthly magazine geared to hobbyist keepers of tropical fish, with news and information on a variety of topics concerning freshwater and marine aquariums. The magazine was first published in September 1952. The magazine is based in Neptune City, New Jersey. It is published by TFH Publications, which publishes books relating to the care aquarium fish and pets.

<i>Thayeria boehlkei</i> Species of fish

Thayeria boehlkei is a species of characin fish endemic to the Amazon river basin and Araguaia river, in Peru and Brazil respectively. The species is popular with aquarium hobbyists where it is traded under a variety of common names including blackline penguinfish, blackline thayeria, hockey-stick tetra, penguin fish and penguin tetra.

Herbert Richard Axelrod was a tropical fish expert, a publisher of pet books, and an entrepreneur. In 2005 he was sentenced in U.S. court to 18 months in prison for tax fraud.

African brown knifefish Species of ray-finned fish

The African brown knifefish or African knifefish, is the only species in the genus Xenomystus of the family Notopteridae. This fish is found in the Chad, Nile, Congo, Ogowe and Niger basins, as well as coastal river basins in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.

Meteor goldfish Breed of goldfish

The Meteor goldfish is a tailless breed of fancy goldfish thought to have been developed by goldfish breeders during the late 19th or early 20th century. The meteor goldfish lacked a tail fin, but had a well-developed anal fin in the tail fin's position. The other fins of the meteor goldfish were elongated, and it was a competent swimmer despite its lack of a tail.

George Sprague Myers was an American ichthyologist who spent most of his career at Stanford University. He served as the editor of Stanford Ichthyological Bulletin as well as president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Myers was also head of the Division of Fishes at the United States National Museum, and held a position as an ichthyologist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He was also an advisor in fisheries and ichthyology to the Brazilian Government.

Aquarium Transparent tank of water for fish and water-dwelling species

An aquarium is a vivarium of any size having at least one transparent side in which aquatic plants or animals are kept and displayed. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, aquatic reptiles, such as turtles, and aquatic plants. The term aquarium, coined by English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, combines the Latin root aqua, meaning 'water', with the suffix -arium, meaning 'a place for relating to'.

Pethia reval, the red-finned barb, is a species of cyprinid fish endemic to Sri Lanka. This species can reach a length of 3.4 centimetres (1.3 in) SL.

<i>Nannostomus marginatus</i> Species of fish

Nannostomus marginatus,, commonly known as the dwarf pencilfish, is a freshwater species of fish belonging to the genus Nannostomus in the characin family Lebiasinidae. They were first described in 1909 by C. H. Eigenmann and are typical of members of this genus being small, elongated fish with prominent horizontal stripes. The most notable feature of N. marginatus is its size, it being one of the smallest members of the genus, only reaching a maximum size of 35 mm. They occur widely on the South American continent having been recorded in Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, Suriname, and Peru, and have been a popular aquarium species since their introduction to aquarists in the early twentieth century.

Project <i>Piaba</i>

Project Piaba is a fishery initiative located on the Rio Negro tributary of the Amazon River. The program both promotes and researches sustainable aquarium pet fish collection and its impact on the environment. The name of the project comes from the Brazilian Portuguese word, piaba, which means "little fish", referring specifically to the cardinal tetra. Project Piaba is an ongoing project with annual research expeditions to the Rio Negro region. Because of the sustainable nature of the project, its slogan is "Buy a Fish, Save a Tree!"

References