TELEVISION—CAREY ARCHIVE ON THE SELENIUM CAMERA. CAREY, GEORGE R. b.1851. Extensive archive from the files of George R. Carey containing both working diagrams and calculations and fair copies made for the patent purposes and publication, 1878-1903, comprising:
Lot 222
TELEVISION—CAREY ARCHIVE ON THE SELENIUM CAMERA.
CAREY, GEORGE R. b.1851.
Extensive archive from the files of George R. Carey containing both working diagrams and calculations and fair copies made for the patent purposes and publication, 1878-1903, comprising:
Sold for US$ 12,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
TELEVISION—CAREY ARCHIVE ON THE SELENIUM CAMERA.
CAREY, GEORGE R. b.1851. Extensive archive from the files of George R. Carey containing both working diagrams and calculations and fair copies made for the patent purposes and publication, 1878-1903, comprising:
1. Manuscript booklet entitled "Selenium Camera and Selenium Relay," comprising 7 full-page diagrams, small 4to, 1878.
2. Manuscript headed "(Plate 1) Selenium Camera - (Plate 2) Instrument for transmitting and recording images. Seeing by Electricity," 1 1/2 pp, 4to, being descriptions of the two plates which appeared in Scientific American in June, 1880. With copies of the plates and the original proofs of the illustrations in the article with pencil annotations apparently by the editor.
3. Manuscript headed "Seeing and Transmitting Pictures by Electricity," on about 80 leaves mostly rectos only, various sizes, c.1894, beginning, "In 1873 I first became interested in that property of selenium by which it changes its electrical conductivity when exposed to light varying in intensity..." Being a draft of a memoir, in several different hands, including false starts.
4. Original drawing, "Selenium Electrical Camera invented by Geo. R. Carey May & June 1878," 230 x 560 mm, signatures of 2 witnesses. Plus 5 further original drawings with manuscript descriptions of Selenium inventions as sent to the publishers of Scientific American in March, 1879.
5. Over 100 pp of further scientific manuscripts, including working documents and affidavits, frequently illustrated with diagrams and sketches, including a diary from 1889 full of pencil sketches and several oversize drawings.
6. Approximately 95 letters and postcards, including retained copies, various sizes, over 100 pp, 1878-1903, including correspondence between Carey and his father, Augustus (who was also an inventor) and scientific journals.

"SEEING AND TRANSMITTING PICTURES BY ELECTRICITY": AN ASTONISHINGLY EXTENSIVE ARCHIVE ON THE GENESIS OF TELEVISION, with a significant number of original schematics dating from 1878-1880 relating to the publication of Carey's article in Scientific American.
Present in this archive is a manuscript description of the photoelectric properties of selenium, which discovery by Willoughby Smith in 1873 was the inspiration for George Carey and others to discover the means of transmitting optical images by electricity. "One of the first of these [phototelegraphy machines] was that of George Carey, an employee of the Boston Surveyor's Office, who outlined three different forms of his device in an article published in the Scientific American on June 5, 1880: 'The first was the use of a "selenium camera" consisting of a circular disc of selenium elements connected by separate wires to a similar disc of wire points at a receiver. This was not for immediate visual reception, as a piece of chemically prepared paper was to be inserted between the points and a metal plate. What is of importance was that he conceived of a visual transmitter as a "camera"' (Abramson, 1987, II) ... Carey's 'selenium camera,' in all its forms, is recognized by historians as an ancestor of both facsimile machines and television. (Norman Origins of Cyberspace 134).
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