thomas easterly

© Thomas Easterly, June 18, 1847, Earliest known photograph of lightning

“Daguerreotype of a Streak of Lightning taken June 18th 1847 at 9 o'clock P.M. By T.M. Easterly, St. Louis Mo.”

This is a cabinet card photograph of a Thomas Easterly daguerreotype by Cramer, Gross and Co. (1874-78), and may be the first streak of lightning ever captured photographically. The original daguerreotype is lost, but this copy photograph taken in the 1870s captures Easterly’s historic achievement.

Primarily a portraitist, Easterly also made pictures of landscapes, unusual for daguerreotypists.

A few weeks ago, these lightning photographs (by William N. Jennings; photographed between 1885-90) were very popular, also here on Tumblr (nearly 28,000 people have liked or reblogged it by now, including me). Too bad that we all helped distributing wrong information, as they’re not the first ever photographs of lightning.

Note to myself: question everything.