|Who is it?||Inventor|
|Birth Day||February 11, 1800|
|Birth Place||Dorset, British|
|Age||219 YEARS OLD|
|Died On||17 September 1877(1877-09-17) (aged 77)\nLacock, Wiltshire, England|
|Occupation||scientist and inventor|
|Known for||pioneering photography|
|Children||Ela (1835–1893) Rosamond (1837–1906) Matilda (1839–1927) Charles (1842–1916)|
|Parent(s)||William Davenport Talbot Elisabeth Fox Strangways|
|Awards||Royal Medal (1838) Rumford Medal (1842)|
Talbot was the only child of william Davenport Talbot, of Lacock Abbey, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, and of Lady Elisabeth Fox Strangways, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Ilchester. His governess was Agnes Porter who had also educated his mother. Talbot was educated at Rottingdean, Harrow School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded the Porson Prize in Classics in 1820, and graduated as twelfth wrangler in 1821. From 1822 to 1872, he communicated papers to the Royal Society, many of them on mathematical subjects. At an early period, he began optical researches, which later bore fruit in connection with photography. To the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal in 1826 he contributed a paper on "Some Experiments on Coloured Flame"; to the Quarterly Journal of Science in 1827 a paper on "Monochromatic Light"; and to the Philosophical Magazine papers on chemical subjects, including one on "Chemical Changes of Colour."
A polymath, Talbot was elected to the Royal Society in 1831 for his work on the integral calculus, and researched in optics, chemistry, electricity and other subjects such as etymology and ancient history.
Talbot was active in politics, being a moderate Reformer who generally supported the Whig Ministers. He served as Member of Parliament for Chippenham between 1832 and 1835 when he retired from Parliament. He also held the office of High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1840.
While engaged in his scientific researches, Talbot devoted much time to archaeology. He had a 20-year involvement in the field of Assyriology, the study of the history, archaeology and culture of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). With Henry Rawlinson and Edward Hincks he shares the honour of having been one of the first decipherers of the cuneiform inscriptions of Nineveh. He published Hermes, or Classical and Antiquarian Researches (1838–39), and Illustrations of the Antiquity of the Book of Genesis (1839). He was also the author of English Etymologies (1846).
Daguerre's work on his process had commenced at about the same time as Talbot's earliest work on his salted paper process. In 1839, Daguerre's agent applied for English and Scottish patents only a matter of days before France, having granted Daguerre a pension for it, declared his invention "free to the world". The United Kingdom and the British "Colonies and Plantations abroad" therefore became the only places where a licence was legally required to make and sell daguerreotypes. This exception is now usually regarded as both an expression of old national animosities, still smouldering just 24 years after Waterloo, and a reaction to Talbot's patent. Talbot never attempted to patent any part of his printed-out silver chloride "photogenic drawing" process and his calotype patent was not registered in Scotland.
In February 1841, Talbot obtained an English patent for his developed-out calotype process. At first, he sold individual patent licences for £20 each; later, he lowered the fee for amateur use to £4. Professional Photographers, however, had to pay up to £300 annually. In a Business climate where many patent holders were attacked for enforcing their rights, and an academic world that viewed the patenting of new discoveries as a hindrance to scientific freedom and further progress, Talbot's behaviour was widely criticised. On the other hand, many Scientists supported his patent and they gave expert evidence in later trials. In addition, the calotype method was free for scientific uses, an area which Talbot himself pioneered, such as photomicrography. One reason Talbot later gave for vigorously enforcing his rights was that he had spent, according to his own reckoning, about £5,000 on his various photographic endeavours over the years and wanted to at least recoup his expenses.
In 1844, Talbot helped set up an establishment in Baker Street, Reading, for mass-producing salted paper prints from his calotype negatives. The Reading Establishment, as it was known, also offered services to the public, making prints from others' negatives, copying artwork and documents, and taking portraits at its studio. The enterprise was not a success.
In 1851, the year of Daguerre's death, Frederick Scott Archer publicised the wet collodion process, which made it practical to use glass instead of paper as the support for making the camera negative. The lack of detail often criticised in prints made from calotype negatives was overcome, and sharp images, comparable in degree of detail to daguerreotypes, could at last be provided by convenient paper prints. The collodion process soon replaced the calotype in commercial use, and by the end of the decade the daguerreotype was virtually extinct as well.
In August 1852, The Times published an open letter by Lord Rosse, the President of the Royal Society, and Charles Lock Eastlake, the President of the Royal Academy, who called on Talbot to relieve the patent pressure that was perceived as stifling the development of photography. Talbot agreed to waive licensing fees for amateurs, but he continued to pursue professional portrait Photographers, having filed several lawsuits.
In 1854, Talbot applied for an extension of the 14-year patent. At that time, one of his lawsuits, against Photographer Martin Laroche, was heard in court. The Talbot v. Laroche case proved to be pivotal. Laroche's side argued that the patent was invalid, as a similar process had been invented earlier by Joseph Reade, and that using the collodion process did not infringe the calotype patent in any case, because of significant differences between the two processes. In the verdict, the jury upheld the calotype patent but agreed that Laroche was not infringing upon it by using the collodion process. Disappointed by the outcome, Talbot chose not to extend his patent.