MEET THE FAMOUS STEREO PHOTOGRAPHERS
Benjamin West Kilburn was born on December 10, 1827 in Littleton, New Hampshire and died January 12, 1909.
He started photographing in the 1850’s, along with his younger brother. Both they served in the Civil War from September 1862 to February 1863. So they were there at the Battle of Fredericksburg December 1862.
Ben Kilburn had a great love for Mount Washington, an ideal place to hike, climb, camp, hunt, fish and - of course - to take photographs. Ben was especially enamored with the cog railway that was build in the late 1860’s. Here you see a view of one of the workers. He’s sliding down on a dangerous slideboard, with a toolbox between his legs.
In 1866 the Kilburn Brothers sent a letter to Edward Wilson, who was publisher of The Philadelphia Photographer, an influential periodical in those days. They wrote: Thinking, perhaps, you would like to know what some of the readers of the Philadelphia Photographer are doing this season, we have sent you by mail a package of 26 views , from negatives made by us… And Wilson publicly praised the sharpness and tone of the views, which he evaluated to be beauties. This really helped to bring the Kilburn name to the trade! The 26 views included scenes of Mount Washington and of maple sugaring.
Here is one of those twenty-six 1860’s views, showing the process of maple sugaring!
This is a 1889 view of the Kilburn Factory. Along the façade you see the shelves which were used for sun printing. Children are playing in the snow with some of the Kilburn employees. View says “Fun at Noon-time”.
An awful lot of genre views were made by Ben Kilburn. Here we see a very nice 1899 view of four people playing cards. There’s a ghost figure to see on the left. Mind the portraits of George Washington and Abe Lincoln, being there as a patriotic statement.
This specific décor was used many times for many different genre scenes.
Ben Kilburn was an avid hunter and fisherman. You will find him on many of his own views with his dogs, hunting friends and killed animals. In this 1894 view you see Ben with some of his hunting friends. Beside him there’s Don, his Irish setter.
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