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Nicéphore Niépce, French Inventor
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Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) was a French inventor and a pioneer in the field of photography. Niépce served as a staff officer in the French army under Napoleon. Niépce took what is believed to be the world's first photogravure etching, in 1822, of an engraving of Pope Pius VII, but the original was later destroyed when he attempted to duplicate it. He also experimented with silver chloride, which darkens when exposed to light, but eventually looked to bitumen, which he used in his first successful attempt at capturing nature photographically. In 1829 he began collaborating on improved photographic processes with Louis Daguerre, and together they developed the physautotype, a process that used lavender oil. Among Niépce's other inventions was the Pyréolophore, the world's first 'internal combustion engine', which he conceived, created, and developed with his older brother Claude who had descended into delirium and squandered much of the family fortune chasing inappropriate business opportunities for the Pyréolophore. Nicéphore died in 1833 at the age of 68.
March 13th, 2013
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