MAŁACHOWSKI - (Władysław Małachowski - Leon Warnerke)

Władysław Małachowski – also known as Leon Warnerke


In 1875 Leon Warnerke constructed a camera equipped with a special film cassette (Warnerke rollcassette) – it contained a photosensitive paper roll, which film capacity was equal to 100 photos . On the back of the cassette was an orange control window, through which you could see the numbers on the reverse side of the paper at intervals, corresponding to photo size. Transverse lines painted on the surface of the film at intervals corresponding to the next photographs allowed to set film in the correct position. The camera used his self-invented film - paper photographic film coated with dry collodion emulsion. Light-sensitive layer was a dry collodion layer containing silver bromide, it basically was made of several alternate layers of collodion and a rubber solution poured onto the paper. Negative was stripped of paper after the photo was taken, and then attached to glass plate for further film development.

 No: MW / 10

Film roll could be put into cassette after opening of the single door panel at the back of camera. At the front (facing at the camera) of cartridge was a damper, which had been stocked with an orange control window. "It is surprising why the control window has been placed in the damper, and not elsewhere. Firstly, the solution was the easiest to implement. Second, it had virtually no effect on the process of taking photography, because each time film had to be removed from the camera and replaced with new cassette and focusing screen. Cassette had to be removed, in order to see film roll through control window ". [citing: Paweł Paciorkiewicz - Leon Warnerke, FOTO No. 1/1993].

 The illustration comes from an article Paweł Paciorkiewicz - Ręczne aparaty fotograficzne na błony zwojowe, monthly FOTO issue No. 11-12 / 1987. Illustration posted with the consent of the author.

In 1881, Małachowski built a new model of camera, which had length of the film roll reduced to 40 photos. Negative was a perforated, high sensitivity silver bromide paper. "Due to the sensitivity of the paper, neither orange or red control window did not provide sufficient protection against  exposure. In order to solve this problem cassette had to be connected with galvanic battery and a small electric bell, also film paper was pierced with a series of holes in the intervals of the frame width. Appropriately placed contacts would start bell after certain length of light-sensitive tape was scrolled"- [Citing: W. Romer, Władysław Małachowski - Leon Warnerke Polish inventor in the field of photography]. Due to the high cost of production of cassette, this innovative signaling system was soon simplified - the bell has been replaced with a lever and mechanical indicator showing number of pictures already taken.

 No: MW / 20

"Małachowski’s rollcassette was the first rollcassette to initiate widespread interest in the world of photography - travelling photographers in particular; most importantly it achieved commercial success. The interest in Warnerke’s rollcassette and photographic film lasted until 1885, when improved version of cassette - it was modeled on Wernerke design - made by Eastman and Walker which appeared on the photographic market "[P.Paciorkiewicz].

 Drawing included in patent documentation - Patent No. 317049 granted to W.H. Walker & G.Eastman in 1885.

In 1885, Eastman G. and H. Walker began mass production of an analog coil film cassette with an electric bell. In 1888, they introduced a box camera to the market, which was modeled on Małachowski’s camera and shared most of the design features.


Drawing included in patent documentation  - Patent No. 388850 granted to George Eastman in 1888.

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