Panoramic photography: more Canadian connections

Two Canadians, John Connon and William J. Johnston were involved in the development of the Cirkut camera used by Walcott in the Canadian Rockies. As reported by Charles Long in his article In the Round, published in The Beaver (April/May 2000), these Canadians played an important pioneering role which eventually made it possible for a camera to take a 360º panoramic view in one continuous exposure.

An experienced photographer, John Connon designed the modifications on a camera to make this kind of photograph possible. His first 360º panoramic view was of the town of Elora, Ontario taken from the top of the town’s tallest building in February 1887. Although he succeeded in patenting his design, it was never manufactured.

Eventually another Canadian, William J. Johnston, took Connon’s design a step further. “The same basic design surfaced again in 1904 as the Cirkut Camera, patented by (…) William J. Johnston, and manufactured by the Rochester Panoramic Camera Company. Two quick mergers and two years later, that too became part of the American company Eastman Kodak. The Kodak Cirkut would become the most successful workhorse of the industry, sold continuously until 1949, and still in use today.” (Charles Long, The Beaver, April/May 2000).

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