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J. W. C. Floyd, Photographer

The photographer, John Wilbur Clarence Floyd, who lovingly captured Lock Haven, Pennsylvania in his discerning lens was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853. He moved to Lock Haven at the age of 28, taking over the ownership of a photographic company from proprietor F. W. Wood. Within a short time, Mr. Floyd became the most prominent and prolific photographer in the area, as the regional photographs taken between 1881 and 1906 certainly attest. Mr. Floyd's love of the landscape and Victorian-era architecture and fashion are evident in his images. Now financially secure, Mr. Floyd could marry his longtime girlfriend Erma L. Gast in 1883, but within a few years he experienced several professional and personal setbacks. In 1887, fire caused considerable damage to his photographic studio, and shortly after the catastrophic flood of 1889, Erma Gast Floyd succumbed to typhoid fever.

Unwavering in his determination to succeed despite many obstacles, Mr. Floyd became a tireless business promoter, advertising heavily, and making several local appearances that would generate newspaper coverage for his studio. For example, in 1890, he announced he would release a 16-foot-long balloon over Lock Haven, and the person who successfully retrieved the balloon would receive as prizes photographs totaling $5 and a cash prize of $2.50. Unfortunately, the balloon caught fire during its ascent, but Mr. Floyd nevertheless rewarded the $2.50 to a man who found the balloon's hoop. Sadly, Mr. Floyd's marital misfortunes continued when his second wife Jessie died in March 1896, less than four years after their marriage. However, his photography business flourished as he experimented with the latest technological innovations. He was among the first photographers to capture nighttime outdoor images with the aid of a camera light. He also received a patent for the photographic-print washer he invented complete with a rocking tray complete with a print chamber that could discharge water from receptacles at each end.

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2013-09-22 11:42:51
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