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Document number: 2644
Date: 16 Mar 1833
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HIGGINS John
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA33(MW)-054
Last updated: 18th March 2010

370 Oxford Street
March 16. 1833

Mr Higgins<1> presents his compliments to Mr Talbot with the machine – Mr Higgins requests Mr Talbot will accept a few of the wheels which if papered on both sides <2> may probably afford sufficient variety – If Mr T. wants more wheels, he can get them at the wire manufactory <3> No 370 Oxford Street, under Mr Higgins’ residence –

Mr Murray<4> paid the three pounds to Mr Higgins last evening

Talbot Esqr M. P.
31 Sackville Street


1. Higgins received a silver medal from the Royal Society of Arts in 1827 for his model of a "Revolving Light for Steam-Vessels." He may have been the same John Higgins who invented various prosthetic devices two decades earlier.

2. It is possible that the paper–covered wheels were for the rotating photometry machine suggested in WHFTs’ ‘Experiments on Light,’ read to the Royal Society of London in July 1834 and published in the London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, 3rd series v. 5 no. 29, November 1834, pp. 327–334. One such machine, built for an American collector, survives in the National Museum of Scotland: see Alison Morrison-Low and Allen Simpson, ‘A New Dimension: A Context for Photography Before 1860,’ in Light From a Dark Room (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1995), pp. 20–21.

3. This was probably Miss Mary Coupland, Patent Wire Worker, listed in the 1843 and 1851 POD for this address; Mr Higgins does not appear in these.

4. Probably Robert Murray (1798-1857), Irish instrument maker based in London at John Newman's; from 1855 photographic partner with Vernon Heath.