Julius Neubronner

75 Grams of Julius Neubronner

Doctor Julius Neubronner is often called the father of aerial pigeon photography. The German apothecary was also an inventor, constructor, and amateur photographer. As a modern man, he sought to use state-of-the-art technology, and combined his work with his hobbies. He used carrier pigeons to bring prescriptions from the nearby Falkstein Sanatorium and would immediately send the pigeon back with the requested drugs. The pigeon could carry weights of up to 75 grams. Later on, Neubronner decided to try and use pigeons in another hobby: photography. He worked closely with watchmakers to create a miniature and, most importantly, lightweight camera attached to the pigeons’ belly which still allowed them to fly. He trained his birds so that they would be able to carry their heavy load over long distances. The apparatus made the pigeon look as if it carried a large picture-taking backpack. The camera shutter was equipped with pneumatic control. Neubronner experimented with various types of lenses and film roll cartridges, as well as various apparatuses to be attached to the pigeon’s body. The pigeon photographers could take pictures using wide lenses or double sport camera as well as take pictures in phases. Pigeons would fly at a height varying between 50100 metres above the ground at an average speed of 15 km/h. The inventor also had to deal with the difficulties the pigeons faced returning to mobile pigeonholes he used in order to photograph in numerous locations. However, Neubronner quite successfully overcame this obstacle, too, and presented his mobile pigeonhole/dark chamber in 1909 at a fair in Dresden.

Filip Láb

To read the entire article, order
Fotograf Magazine #30

Kronberg, buildings in Tanzhausstraße and Hainstraße
Dresden, Fürstenstr. 42 and 44
Kronberg, Tanzhausstraße and (upwards) so called “Receptur”
Kronberg, castle Friedrichshof (and wings)
Möglicherweise: Street in Dresden
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Kronberg, Kaiser-Friedrich-Denkmalspark (today: Victoriapark) with memorial complex courtesy of the Municipal Archives of Kronberg im Taunus