The First Snowflake Photograph

We've seen some amazing photographs of snowflakes taken by microscope cameras. Did you know the first photograph of a single snowflake dates back to 1885? Wilson A. Bentley adapted a microscope to a bellows camera and worked for years before his first successful snowflake photograph.
In 1903, he sent 500 prints of his snowflakes to the Smithsonian, hoping they might be of interest to Secretary Samuel P. Langley. These images are now part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Bentley’s book Snow Crystals, with more than 2,400 snowflake images, was published in 1931. This photomicrograph and more than 5,000 others supported the belief that no two snowflakes are alike, leading scientists to study his work and publish it in numerous scientific articles and magazines.

See Bentley's photographs, which are not on display at any museum, online at The Smithsonian Institution. Link

Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

I'll never get tired of looking at snowflakes! When I moved to Michigan with my ex-husband he thought my fascination with them was hilarious but hey...I was born and raised in Florida fer cryin out loud. I'd only seen snow two times in my life before that and it was more like what should properly be called sleet. It wasn't flakes. The ex looked at me like I was crazy the first time I noticed some snowflakes on a window and blurted out, "WOW! Snowflakes really DO look like all the drawings I've seen of them!" I always thought the six-pointed flakes like the one in the picture here were just a fanciful representation of snowflakes and they didn't really look like that.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Actually, there is an entire (though small) museum exhibit dedicated to Bentley's work in Jericho, Vermont, his hometown. The Jericho Historical Society has original photographs, reprints, and some of his original equipment are on display.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The First Snowflake Photograph"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More