This week in Christian history: Chuck Colson dies, Hannibal Goodwin born, Sixtus V becomes Pope

Hannibal Goodwin born – April 21, 1822

Hannibal Goodwin (1822-1900), an Episcopal priest and inventor.
Hannibal Goodwin (1822-1900), an Episcopal priest and inventor. | Public Domain

This week marks the anniversary of when Hannibal Goodwin, an Episcopal Church priest and inventor known for his pioneering work with film, was born in Ulysses, New York.

An amateur photographer, Goodwin is credited with inventing a way in which to create transparent and flexible roll film from a nitrocellulose film base, streamlining the process.

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According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which inducted Goodwin in 2011, the priest “was inspired to invent this film when he was unable to find suitable Bible pictures for use in his Sunday-school classes.”

“Initially, he decided to make his own glass-plate photographs, but soon found that glass-plate photography was a cumbersome, multi-step process,” noted the organization.

“Goodwin made his flexible photographic film by dissolving nitrocellulose in nitrobenzole and then diluting the thick mixture with alcohol. He poured the mixture onto glass, and when the nitrobenzole and alcohol evaporated, he had a film that could be coated with emulsion and used for taking pictures.”

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