Arthur Samuel Newman

British camera manufacturer

In 1862 Arthur Newman was employed by a firm of electricians, but when the company began to manufacture hand cameras he transferred to this work. Newman developed a number of improvements in hand camera design, and by 1889 had set himself up in partnership as a manufacturer of cameras, shutters, and changing boxes. When this partnership was dissolved in 1890, Newman joined with a London businessman and keen photographer named Julio Guardia to form the camera-manufacturing company of Newman & Guardia. Guardia handled the marketing of the cameras which Newman designed; in 1896 Newman, having seen a Lumière show, also began to design a moving picture projector, but although he took out a patent at the end of the year it was not until the end of 1897 that Newman & Guardia had a machine ready for manufacture. At £30 the 'N & G' Kinematograph Camera was rather expensive, but one was immediately bought for Sir George Newnes' Antarctic expedition (led by Carsten Borchgrevink). By 1899 Newman & Guardia was also marketing a film perforator and a printing machine, and offering a developing and printing service. Newman & Guardia gained a reputation for the quality of its camera equipment, but there were problems in 1906 when Julio Guardia died. Newman was not a success running the company himself, and in 1908 resigned his directorship, agreeing also to relinquish his shares in the company if he couild keep the rights to the film equipment he had designed. In 1909 Newman set up a new partnership with James A. Sinclair to form Newman & Sinclair Ltd, and opened a workshop to manufacture film equipment. Newman designed the Newman-Sinclair reflex camera, a lightweight design carrying 400 feet of negative in film boxes placed side by side, and in 1910 Herbert Ponting took one on Captain Scott's ill-fated polar journey. Newman also assisted in the development of Kasimierz Proszynski's Aeroscope camera, a lightweight film camera with a compressed-air engine that Newman & Sinclair began manufacturing in 1912 and which remained popular with explorers and war photographers. Newman's camera designs continued to have a reputation for robust reliability, and provided footage for such well-known documentaries as John Grierson's Drifters (1929), Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran (1934) and Basil Wright's Song of Ceylon (1934).

Nicholas Hiley