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Photo Friday: The Edison Advertising Program (1939)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The Edison Company documented itself from the first. At the turn of the twentieth century, Benjamin F. Pearson, Edison’s General Superintendent, came back from an excursion to Germany with a state-of-the art camera lens and the intention of making pictures of every Edison facility. He enlisted G. Haven Bishop, an energetic young draftsman then working in the field counting utility poles, to try his hand at photography. Bishop eventually wore out three large-format cameras and made an estimated 30,000 pictures during his four-decades tenure as Edison’s first in-house photographer (he retired in 1939 at age 60).

~Jennifer Watts, “Form and Landscape” online gallery

Photo Credit: G. Haven Bishop (1879-1972), Virginia Thompson and Antique Light Bulb, Edison Advertising Program, 1939. Southern California Edison Collection, courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

H/T to Jen Christiansen, Bill Deverell, Thea Page, and Deborah Miller.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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