Article by Larry Hart

“Larry Hart (1920 – 2004) was a long time newspaper columnist and photographer for the Daily Gazette (formerly the Schenectady Gazette) whose weekly column “Tales of Old Dorp” entertained many Schenectadians young and old alike.  He also wrote many books on the history of Schenectady as well.  The following excerpt on his experience with General Electric Photoflash bulbs was taken from the October 22, 1993 issue of The Scotia-Glenville Journal:

“ ‘ (The explosions often occurred) on wintry days when we came indoors out of the freezing cold. The extreme heat from the flash was too much for the glass bulb.
 ‘ My most vivid recollection of this was one December, about 1948, when I was assigned to get a picture of Santa Claus and some children in the basement of Carl’s downtown Schenectady Store.
 ‘ I aimed my Speed Graphic in the direction of Santa with two youngsters on his lap and, fortunately, had detached the flash gun and pointed it upward for a No. 22 bulb “bounce shot” (which gave a softer light).
' Its explosion and shattered glass must have been heard all over the store, or so it seemed as a crowd looked on while I made a hasty exit after being relieved that no one was injured.’  ”

“Later photoflash bulbs became more miniaturized using wired foil and plug in bases and looked unlike the ordinary household bulbs. Eventually flash cubes and electronic flashes were developed, sparing the photographer the grief of exploding bulbs.”

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