Photographic Recording Device

Photographic Recording Device

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In this large device, a photographic plate moves past a slot through which a beam of light is directed by the movable elements of an instrument. The device was undoubtedly made for Samuel Pierpont Langley, the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and founding Director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Also involved in this project was Thomas Smilie (1843-1917), the U.S. National Museum photographer who was remembered as having been “of the greatest assistance to the late Secretary Langley when he first introduced photographic recording with the bolometer for mapping the infra-red solar spectrum, and later when investigating the flight of soaring birds.”
Ref: “Death of Dr. Thomas W. Smilie,” The Photographic Journal 54 (1917): 166.
Currently not on view
Object Name
photographic recording device
overall: 62 5/8 in x 16 in x 9 in; 159.0675 cm x 40.64 cm x 22.86 cm
overall: 26 1/2 in x 16 in x 9 in; 67.31 cm x 40.64 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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