The William Willis Patents, 1873 to 1913


Early researchers knew that under certain circumstances images could be made out of platinum, but these pictures were of very poor quality, and it was generally considered that platinum was not suitable for photography. Eventually William Willis jnr, of Bromley, England, made the technical breakthrough, and invented a practical process for making photographs from platinum. He called them platinotypes. Willis’s first patent was granted in 1873, and he quickly founded a company, the Platinotype Company, to commercialise his discoveries.

Willis and the Platinotype Company, tried to keep the details of the process secret, but such was the demand that others sought to reverse-engineer his invention. The Platinotype Company closed in 1932, and sadly it appears that the company’s trade secrets died with it.

This 32 page ebook contains the specification sections of William Willis’ UK patents from 1873 to 1913. It offers printers, researchers and historians an insight into the origins of this amazing process.