Born On This Day ~ February 9 ~ Wilson Bentley ~ A Pioneer In Photomicrograph

Born: February 9, 1865 (Jericho, Vermont)
Died: December 23, 1931 (Jericho, Vermont)

Famous For/Known For:
A pioneer in photomicrograph

A Little About Wilson Bentley:

Born to a mother who home schooled her children and a father who worked the farm.

From a young age Bentley was highly interested in nature. On his 15th birthday his mother presented him with a microscope.

After looking at snow flakes through his microscope he was determined to capture their detailed beauty in drawings. Since the snow crystals would melt before he could finish drawing them he decided to try photography.

Bentley’s father could not understand his son’s interest in wanting an expensive camera. His mother finally changed the mind of her husband and on Bentley’s 17th birthday his presents were a camera and a new microscope.

Since snowflakes melt so quickly it was a challenging task to photograph them but Bentley was able to develop equipment and the technique to acquire the pictures.

In 1885 Bentley finally captured the first photomicrograph in the world of a snow crystal.He managed to photograph more than 5000 snow flakes over the course of his life.

In 1903 Bentley donated a collection of several hundred of his pictures of snowflakes to the Smithsonian Institute.

In 1931 Bentley and physicist William J Humphreys published the book, Snow Crystals which displays 2300 of Bentley’s photos.

Bentley’s preoccupation with snow crystals got him the nickname of Snowflake Man.

Bentley was also a very talented musician. He could play the violin, piano, organ, clarinet and coronet. He could also compose music.

Wilson Bentley died from pneumonia at the age of 66.

Books About/Written By  Wilson Bentley:

Snowflakes in Photographs

Snow Crystals

The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A Bentley

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