Stereoscopic spark drum camera

Lucien Bull

Spark drum camera for taking stereoscopic high-speed cinematograph photographs, invented and used by Dr. Lucien Bull, C.B.E. 1903. Also display box of 5 electrical parts relevant to camera.

This Stereoscopic Spark Drum Camera was devised by Lucien Bull (1876-1972) in 1904. It took 54 pairs of pictures at up to 2000 frames per second and was the first to analyse the wing-beats of insects. The insect was illuminated by a succession of very bright electrical sparks, fired off by means of the rotary contactor at the side of the camera. The drum was driven at up to 40 revolutions a second. Originally an assistant to Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904), Lucien Bull was a pioneer of high-speed photography and cinematography. A craftsman in wood and metal, he constructed much of his own apparatus. Bull also invented the electro-cardiograph.


Photographic Technology
Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), glass, metal (unknown) and wood (unidentified)
stereo camera
  • tools and equipment
  • equipment by process
  • image making equipment
  • camera (form)
Bull, L

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