Historical Designs

The NeoLucida is an update to the 19th century camera lucida. Since William Hyde Wollaston patented the Camera Lucida in 1807, plenty of scientists, artists, and craftsmen have proposed their own version of the “prism on a stick.”

Cataloged here are a variety of papers, patents, and guides made throughout the centuries outlining how camera lucidas work and how to build your own. Click the links below to download PDF files.

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WilliamHydeWollaston_Description of the Camera Lucida 1807 Thumbnail“Description of the Camera Lucida” by William Hyde Wollaston, Published in The Philosophical Magazine, v.27, 1807. PDF (446KB)This is the first publication of the Camera Lucida, reproducing (in part) Wollaston’s original patent. 

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GDolland_Description of the camera lucida 1830 Thumnbail

“Description of the Camera Lucida, An Instrument for Drawing in True Perspective, and for Copying, Reducing, or Enlarging Other Drawings.” By George Dollond, Optician to His Majesty, 1830. PDF (4.1MB)George Dollond was Wollaston’s partner in manufacturing the first camera lucida. In 1830, Dollond produced an expanded set of instructions as an essay on the device. Captain Basil Hall contributed his observations from using the device on his travels throughout North America in 1827-8.  

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EdmundScientific 1972 Thumbnail“How to Build Optical Drawing Devices”, by Edmund Optics. 1972 (Reprint 1987) PDF (1.6MB) (See pp17-19 for Camera Lucida)

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More documents coming soon.