England Part 1
England Part 2
Rest of the World
Stickyback Photographers - Location not yet ascertained
There are some individuals, known to have been stickyback photographers, whose studio addresses are not yet known. Also, stickyback photographs occasionally come to light where only a partial address is shown. This page is for these mystery practitioners. Please get in touch if you have any information which might help us to pin these down and re-assign them to other pages on the site.
Address: ? Tramways?
Possible Practitioner: Jack Leviss or Lewis?
Operating dates: c.1905
The stickyback below, just over 1.5 x 1.5 inches, of an unknown young woman in a huge picture hat could be from around 1905-10. There is no “stickyback” sign board to identify the photographer. Instead, we have, in the RH border, a more complex numbering device, with numbers behind tiny windows, to link negative number and image together. The photo seems to have come from a strip and the torn edge on the left hand side suggests the images may have been in a side-by-side strip. On the reverse is a partial rubber stamp. This stamp is repeated side-by-side, with two partial images remaining. We can piece these together to read “Jack Leviss” (or Lewiss), “Tramways”, and the third word is possibly “Central”. Does anyone recognise the name and partial address as a local photographer?
Address: Sticky Backs 18 King Street.
Possible practitioner: Not currently known - studio name "Sticky Backs"
Operating dates: c 1905?
References: See the three below stickyback photographs, with portraits of two, four and four men respectively. Most towns in England could boast a "King Street". One has been found with a photographer at 18 King Street - namely Hereford. Photographer John Thirlwall appears at that address in the 1902 Jakeman and Carvers Directory of Herefordshire. He does not feature in either the 1909 or 1913 Kelly's Directories. Surviving cartes de visite from John Thirlwall state he took over the business of T.Jones. At the moment, ascribing the 18 King Street stickyback studio to Hereford is pure speculation. Surviving cartes and a reference to views of Hereford by J Thirlwall (Hereford Journal 14 Feb 1903 p8) suggest Thirlwall was a conventional commercial photographer rather than a stickyback studio.
Address: Addresses where Stealey practiced are not currently known, but in 1930 James Isaac Stealey lived at 2 West Street Mansions Brighton
Possible practitioner: STEALEY, James Isaac
Operating dates: allegedly as a stickyback photographer from around 1900-
James Isaac Stealey was described in 1928 as a "photographic genius and the man who originated "Sticky back" photos" - so he may at some time have been a stickyback photographer. References: The Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 28 September 1928 - reported: "there was a Press demonstration yesterday of a further venture in automatic photography, which appears on the face of it to be a distinct advance on anything that has gone before. It rejoices in the name of the Photo-Matik,” and is a joint invention of Mr. J. I. Stealery (sic), the photographic genius, who originated "sticky-back" photos thirty years ago, and Mr. Stanley Hart. It is semi automatic only, and is described as 100 per cent. British.” The sitter enters a cabinet, inserts sixpence in a slot, and having achieved a satisfactory pose before the camera, presses a button which makes the exposure. A fresh pose and a further exposure follow, and then a third before the sitter leaves the cabinet. Seven or eight minutes later he or she receives a strip of three full postcard size portraits of considerable artistic merit and as, unlike most “automatic” photographs, they are taken on a negative, an unlimited number of prints can be obtained at short notice. The company running Photo-Matik proposes to open various centres and to fit out a number of cabinets mounted on a motor chassis which will tour fairs, shows, and pleasure resorts in various parts of the country. If the enthusiasm of the Pressmen present can taken as a guide, the new machine should prove to be extremely popular".
The developers of this machine seemed to be rather more accomplished at raising capital for their venture from potential shareholders than in developing and marketing their invention. Two companies were quickly floated; Photo-Matik Portraits Ltd and Photo-Matik Foreign Corporation Ltd. A large amount of capital was raised by issuing shilling shares in both companies. The former was marketed as a sure-fire winner with annual company profits forecast at £136,000, but by 1930 the company was fast heading for insolvency. Although working machines were in place in London, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Bradford, Cardiff, Newport, Bristol, Plymouth and Dublin, the cost of production, distribution and servicing were proving to be far in excess of original estimates. A contract to place machines in Woolworth's stores backfired spectacularly - the machines created so much interest that crowds of customers gathered, taking up too much lucrative selling space in the stores, causing Woolworths a loss.
In 1930 James Isaac Stealey lived at 2 West Street Mansions Brighton and Stanley Hart was living at Cornwall Gardens Brighton.
Leeds Mercury, Tuesday 30 October 1928 p.3; Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 29 September 1928 P16; Western Daily Press - Tuesday 02 October 1928 P10; Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 02 October 1928 P13; Yorkshire Post Fri 12 Oct 1928; Western Daily Press, Tues 30 Oct 1928 p11; Yorkshire Post Wed 21 Nov 1928 p2; Western Daily Press - Friday 11 January 1929 P10; Daily Herald - Monday 18 February 1929 P7; The Scotsman Wed 1 May 1929; Nottingham Journal 6 May 1929: Derby Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 08 January 1930 P11; The Scotsman - Thursday 16 January 1930 P3; The London Gazette Publication date: 7 June 1929 Issue:33504 Page:3791; London Gazette Publication date: 30 July 1929 Issue: 33521 Page: 5015; The London Gazette Publication date:18 July 1930 Issue:33626 Page:4519;
If Stealey made money from the venture it does not appear that his wealth was long lasting. The London Gazette Publication date: 27 February 1931 Issue:33693 Page:1397 reported: "In the County Court of Surrey, holden at Croydon. In Bankruptcy. In the Matter of a Bankruptcy Notice issued on the 23rd day of January, 1931. To JAMES I. STEALEY. Take notice that a bankruptcy notice has been issued against you in this Court by Edward David Axelrad and Frederick Rudolph Axelrad (administrators of the estate of Morris Axelrad, deceased), of 47, Minster-road, Cricklewood, N.W. 2, and 69, Cholmley-gardens, West Hampstead, N.W. 6, respectively."
Top of page