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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Brown Jordan

Dates:  1807 - 1890
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Thomas Brown Jordan
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Born in Bristol but a resident of Cornwall, Jordan was a teacher of painting who was irresistibly drawn to all things mechanical. Already a fine philosophical instrument maker, he became the secretary of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (Talbotís uncle, Sir Charles Lemon, was the president). Immediately on the publication of Talbotís invention of photogenic drawing in 1839, Jordan found a way to combine his two loves, art and science. Part of his duties as secretary was to keep local meteorological records, and in March 1839 he demonstrated his self-registering barometer, a device that used Talbotís sensitive paper to track an hour-by-hour record; he also invented a heliograph, which kept a daily record of the intensity of the sunlight at Falmouth. In 1840 Jordan moved to London and was replaced as secretary by Robert Hunt, a friend of his who ran a chemistís shop in Penzance. Hunt soon emerged as the most important historian of early photography and helped to ensure Jordanís reputation. For his part, Jordan continued as an inventor deeply interested in photographers and photography. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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