A.C. Pillsbury

 Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     Since we are talking about Yosemite Photographers, I want to share info about a lesser known man, Arthur C. Pillsbury – better known as AC. He was educated in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford in the late 1800’s and while at school he started a business specializing in photography. He sold equipment, supplies, rented dark rooms, and built cameras.  This hard working student also ran a full service bicycle shop. He used his skills to actually build the first motorcycle in California. That will win you a trivia contest! 
     In 1895 he rode his bike to Yosemite, and later ran a park photographic concession.  He built up the largest scenic photographic business in the country and sold an average of 5000 photographic post cards a day. He was picked by John Muir to provide the photos of his famous 1912 book, “The Yosemite.” 

     Among his firsts were: 1. He refined a motion picture camera to become a time-lapse machine to capture the opening of a flower. 2. The first filming and showing of a nature movie.  3. The first aerial filming of Yosemite. 4.  Invention of a mass production photo post card machine. 5. Invention of first microscopic motion picture camera. 6. Invention of an X-Ray motion picture camera. 7. Invention of the first mobile underwater motion picture camera. Sadly in November 1927, there was a fire in the storage room of his studio and up to 70,000 negatives burned.  AC died in 1946.
     His granddaughter, Melinda Foster-Pillsbury is preserving his legacy and has a nice website <HERE>.  Included is a YouTube video about the great AC Pillsbury.  See below.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The long and winding road that leads to your door
will never disappear.  I’ve seen that road before. It always leads me here. Lead me to you door.” – The Beatles

MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Response to “A.C. Pillsbury”

  1. Norman S Says:

    “(Ansel) Adams recalled that his first roll of film had been developed by Pillsbury, who had also offered a few technical tips to the novice photographer.” (Art of an American Icon Yosemite, pg 120)

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