Bike Action Cam circa 1885

Action cam aficionados think they are the height of modernity strapping on their “GoPro” devices to their wheeled things and riding through traffic or down mountainsides.  I’m sure few are aware or remember that the action cam dates back to 1885, though it’s operation was a bit clunkier.

ActionCam 1885

According to the article in Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin XVI.18 (1885), pg 553, the use of “modern dry plates” allows a wheelman to record an “exquisite vista” permanently.  “Out publishers are manufacturing an outfit of this character that leaves nothing to be desired as to completeness, lightness, and last, but not least, moderate price….  By means of a very good signal achromatic lens, a picture 3 1/4 and 4 1/4 inches can be taken, and from having seen the work of these lenses, we believe they leave nothing to be desired as to their good quality.”

The contraption weighs two pounds and attached by a universal joint and a monopod (an early use of the word) to the bike.  The dry plates need to be bathed in hypo-soda before development.

If only Kickstarter were around in 1885!

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