These are the bulbs that gave off the bright flashes from news photographers’ cameras as seen in old black and white movies from the days of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.  They were “fireless, smokeless, and odorless” and replaced the older and more dangerous method of flash photography, which depended on igniting a hand held tray of “flash powder” (usually magnesium or other combustible minerals).  Magnesium powder was a generally nasty stuff as they themselves gave of dense smoke, noxious odors, and sometimes started fires.  Photographers were said to have received severe burns from the flaming powders.  However, as safe as Photoflashes were compared to the use of magnesium powder, they themselves were not without their own faults.  Photoflash lamps did have a tendency to explode every now and then, as recalled by the late City of Schenectady Historian and newspaper columnist Larry Hart (1920 – 2004) in an article in which he writes about a newer model of this first Photoflash bulb (a No. 22 Photoflash) and published in the October 22, 1993 issue of The Scotia-Glenville Journal: (Click Here for part of article: A56)


 
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