234. The Democratisation of Jelly (Part of the history of photography)

by Jarvo Laysell August. 22, 2010 3489 views

For most of human history jelly* has been a delicacy. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savoury, nearly always too time consuming and expensive for ordinary people. Then in the 1870s something happened to turn this on it's head. Something that made jelly an easily affordable treat for school kids everywhere. That something was photography.

In the 1870s, gelatin prints replaced albumen prints as the standard photographic process. Industrialists making vast amounts of gelatine for photographers realised that they could also produce gelatine for consumption. No longer did making a jelly involve days spent boiling up calves hooves. From then on jelly could be made very simply by dissolving some pre-made jelly cubes or crystals. Easy peasy and available to anyone for a few pennies. I wonder if digital photography might offer us some similar culinary advancements.

*NB - Jelly is one of those words that has transmuted to mean different things in different places. Just in case you hadn't guessed from the pictures, it is used here in its English sense to mean the wibbly-wobbly stuff, as opposed to the icky-sticky jammy stuff.

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David Cardona 6 years, 10 months ago


6 years, 10 months ago Edited
Andrea 7 years, 1 month ago


7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Sandra Vermeulen 7 years, 1 month ago

Hehe, would the world look more romantic seeing trough a "red camera", or just more gory ... ?

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Becky Brannon 7 years, 1 month ago

Great info! Never connected the two!

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lynda 7 years, 1 month ago

I heard a recent segue on Radio 4's food programme about jelly which was intriguing and covered the points you've made above. I'm curious to know how you created the jelly camera.

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Helen Hooker 7 years, 1 month ago

Love that camera! Thanks for the history lesson too :-)

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Ricardo 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't know about you, but this will be my next camera!

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Moira 7 years, 1 month ago

Very good TFS

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Gillian 7 years, 1 month ago

Your son is obviously doing some great work during his summer holidays! This is such fun - I hope he didn't ruin your camera using it as a mould.

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
Stefan Fletcher 7 years, 1 month ago

Who made the jello (US) camera? Looks expensive!

7 years, 1 month ago Edited
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