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This Is What The First Photographs Of Snowflakes Looked Like

Gorgeous photomicrographs from 1890.

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Wilson A. Bentley is the guy you can thank for the phrase "special snowflake."

The self-educated farmer was born in Jericho, Vermont in 1865 and had a lifelong love of snow. According to the Jericho Historical Society, he spent more than a year experimenting with different ways of taking photographs through a microscope. And in 1885, he became the first person to successfully photograph a single crystal of snow.


Before his death (from the pneumonia he caught whilst walking in a blizzard), Bentley reflected on his love of snow, writing, "The farm folks, up in this north country, dread the winter; but I was supremely happy, from the day of the first snowfall."

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.


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