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Our History

1890-1899—A Family Business

  • 1890

    O.C. White’s one page advertisement for “Appliances for Posing and Lighting in the Studio” appears in The British Journal Photographic Almanac and Photographer’s Daily Companion. Seen here is his design for his first chair to help photographers take long exposures.

  • 1891

    O.C. White presents “a very fine showing of kodaks” at the Association of Practical Photographers in Buffalo, NY.

  • 1892

    O.C. White wins a silver medal for his Adjustable Holders for Incandescent Lamps from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. (Initially, light bulbs were considered the lamp, and the supporting arms and shades were add-ons.) O.C. White Jr. attends Harvard as a freshman.

  • 1893

    O.C. White attends the Chicago World’s Exposition, setting up an exhibit booth in the Mechanics Hall. The title on the booth promotes “Adjustable Extension Movement.” Along with “Electric Lamp Supporters,” he promotes his ball joints and rod connectors as “Photographic Studio Appliances.” He wins multiple awards.

  • 1894

    Attending Harvard, O.C. White Jr. is part of the running team and competes in the 880 yard dash.

  • 1896

    O.C. White Jr. graduates from Harvard in Electrical Engineering, magna cum laude. It’s a new field in universities, and there are only nine other students graduating with degrees that year. At the time, M.I.T. is just a fledgling technology school, mostly focused on vocational training, and is known as “Boston Tech.”

    Twenty-five years later, O.C. White Jr. would reflect, “Soon after graduation I became convinced that it was my duty to give what assistance I could to my father in the development of a manufacturing business based on his patents. He had always done everything in his power for my welfare. He needed me. So I cheerfully gave up the career of which I had dreamed to work with him. I have never regretted it—not for a moment. The business became an established industrial factor and has been reasonably successful.”

  • 1896

    Based in New York City, the Scovill & Adams Co. photographic catalog presents eleven pages of O.C. White products for photographers, including the “New” White Photographic chair.

  • 1897

    O.C. White releases a catalog with their full line of “Adjustable Holders for Incandescent Lamps.” It includes many varieties of ceiling, wall and desk mounted lamps, and is full of testimonials from all kinds of businesses—manufacturers, iron works, electrical companies, shoe makers, banks, jewelers, railroad companies, and mechanics. The catalog exclusively lists lamps.

  • 1898

    O.C. White receives another patent for “support for electric lamps.”