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Jas. H. Smith & Company History

James H. Smith business operations dates back to approximately 1867 were he is listed working in the firm of Smith & Jennison, for the business of Commission, flour & Feed. It is also recorded that J. M. Smith of J. M. Smith & co. was also operating at the same premises at 182 Washington St. Chicago in the business of commission, implying a connection between the two Smiths.

In the 1872 Jas. H. Smith established himself as a photographic firm, inventing, designing, patenting and manufacturing "tools of the trade" such as camera stands, posing stools, picture frames, burnishers, and darkroom equipment.

In 1884, Mr. Smith sold his picture frame and photo supply establishment at Quincy Illinois, where he was a respected photo stock dealer for twelve years, to Mr Robert Dempster. Mr. Smith moved to Chicago. In Chicago he partnered with Mr. Thomas W. Pattison who for fifteen years was with leading photo supply houses in Chicago. The two leased the lofts at 88 and 85 Wabash Ave and established a large and complete stock of photographic materials and accessories.

In 1890 the firm of Smith & Pattison sold the all the stock and good-will of the business to the firm of Sweet, Wallach & Co. Mr. T. W. Pattison stayed with the business and began employment with Sweet & Wallach. Mr. Jas. H. Smith being the inventive genius of the firm, continued on his own in the business of Burnishers, Paper-cutters, Posers, Camera Stands, and other articles useful to the photographer, as the James H. Smith & Co.. His new firm was located at Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1901, two successive fires wiped out Smith's business and almost bankrupted him. Smith at the age of 64, rebuilt the company by inventing a more powerful form of flash-powder and introducing the Sunflower Multiplying Camera designed by Jacob F. Standiford of Fort Scott, Kansas (US Patent No. 668,888, February 26, 1901). The flash powder was 24 times brighter than the leading flash powder of the day and became a financial success. Smith named the flash powder "Victor".


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2014-01-12 07:53:25
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