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1885 Vermont Farmer Photographs First Ever Ice Crystal Images

1885 Vermont Farmer Photographs First Ever Ice Crystal Image With Microscope

Written By: Michael Wing

The ice and snow are mostly gone, but winter still lingers in patches around Jericho, Vermont—where a world-famous poet scientist first coined the phrase “No two snowflakes are alike.”

He was a humble farmer. Land costed $3 an acre in 1880 when the 15-year-old Wilson Bentley first dreamed of attaching a new big bellows camera to the microscope his mother had given him. His hopes were to photograph the snowflakes he was observing through magnification in fascination, which would spark a life-long passion and legacy.

The problem was the camera costed $100, a king’s ransom in those days, and no farmer in Vermont who had any practical sense would spend so wastefully, according to Mr. Bentley’s great-grandniece Sue Richardson.

“One hundred dollars represented 33 acres of prime farmland to his father, who was a farmer and was not inclined to spend that kind of money,” Ms. Richardson, 67, told The Epoch Times. A retired homecare worker, she now manages the Snowflake Bentley Exhibit at the Historic Old Red Mill.

“It was actually an inheritance from [his mother’s] parents that provided the money,” she said. “That inheritance came in 1881.”

The laboratory young Bentley had already set up for studying his microscopic curiosities would soon serve as a photographer’s studio. Not exactly a lab, it was a shack, and had no heat. But fortunately, young Bentley was used to weathering the harsh Vermont winters—which he often spent catching snowflakes on dark-colored fabric and then trying to sketch them on paper.

 

Read More At: The Epoch Times