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‘Snowflake’ Bentley

5 Jun 09 – Climatologist Cliff Harris writes of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, the Jericho, Vermont man who proved 120 years ago that "no two snowflakes are alike". Here are excerpts from that article:

“Bentley, born on February 9, 1865, towards the end of the Civil War, lived his entire life on a small farm in tiny Jericho, Vermont.

“During Wilson’s 50-year-plus career, which began with his 15th birthday when his parents presented him with a new microscope, he painstakingly photographed more than 5,300 distinct patterns of snow crystals.

“In 1885, at age 20, Bentley successfully adapted his microscope to a bellows-type camera and soon became the first person in recorded history to photograph a single snow crystal. In fact, in his 66-year lifetime, Wilson collected more photographic negatives of snowflakes than all other observers combined.

“As a young boy, Bentley made more than 300 drawings of snow crystals. By the mid-to-late 1880s, he began to document his snowflakes with his camera, often in near sub-zero weather conditions. These beautiful photos became so popular that "Snowflake" actually sold 200 of them to the famous jewelry store Tiffany’s in New York City, who used his snow crystal patterns for designing expensive broaches and pendants.

“Bentley’s photographs, I have one on the wall in my weather office at home, have been featured in literally hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers around the world in the past century or so. A recent award-winning children’s book "Snowflake Bentley," by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, can be found in most book stores and encourages children of all ages to learn more about him and his beloved snowflakes.”

          I, too, was born in a tiny town in Vermont, and have two of
          Snowflake Bentley’s photographs hanging on the wall of my office.

See entire article:
Thanks to meteorologist Randy Mann for this link





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