(Based on biographical details and patent information supplied by Paul Godfrey.)
Herbert Edward, son of George and Ann Hickox, was born in 1866 in Richmond, Surrey. In 1871 and 1881 he was living with his family at 8 Upper Hill Street, Richmond, and his father was a dining room keeper. By 1881 Herbert had become a draper’s assistant.
In 1887 Herbert married Clara Inman Linzee in Marylebone; and in 1891 the couple, with a one-year old son, Herbert Linzee, lived at 52 Waddon New Road, Croydon. Herbert's occupation was given as ‘Billiard Marker’.
By the time of the 1901 census, the couple had a second child – Constance (aged 6) – and the family was recorded at 13 Row 136, Great Yarmouth. Herbert Edward was now described as ‘Photographer’. A third child, Edward Philip Hickox, was born in Great Yarmouth on 17th May 1902.
On 14th March 1901 a British patent application was made for an improved kind of ferrotype (tintype) camera in the names of Herbert Hickox and the Rev. Forbes Phillips (Vicar of Gorleston). The application was accepted on 13th Feb 1902. (The Patent Agents were Phillips and Leigh, 22 Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, London WC.) There was also a United States patent application (filed 14th October 1901, but dated as 15th April 1902) for a photographic camera. This was made in the sole name of Herbert Edward Hickox, with no mention of Forbes Phillips.
On 31st October 1903. the St Louis left Southampton, bound for New York 1903. Herbert Hickox was on board, described as a ‘traveler’, and apparently making the voyage alone. His trip may perhaps be connected with the fact that, in the following year, the Quta Camera Company of New York began manufacturing and selling the new camera.
In the UK (also in 1904) the camera was marketed by Jonathan Fallowfield as the Popular Ferrotype Camera.
A further GB patent application was filed on 5th August 1904 and accepted on 3rd August 1905. By this time Hickox was giving his address as 297 Haydon's Road, Wimbledon, and he was the sole patentee. This latest patent covered a new camera that was designed to take one-inch circular button ferrotypes. A corresponding United States application was filed on 24th August 1905, and the one-inch button camera was eventually patented there on 2nd October 1906.
The button camera was marketed by Fallowfields as the Taquta and claimed by them to be ‘entirely made in London’. It was reviewed in The British Journal of Photography Almanac for 1906.
The Quta Photo Machine business was listed in the 1909 Metropolitan Telephone Directory at the Hickox address (297 Haydon's Road) with the number Wimbledon 28.
In 1911 Herbert and Clara were still living at 297 Haydon's Road. Herbert Linzee, Constance and Edward were all still at home and Amy and Evelyn had been added to the family, which also included – on the occasion of the census – Flora Elizabeth Linzee, a visitor, aged 51. Herbert was now described as a ‘Photographic Plate Manufacturer’ and an employer.
In 1914, when listed as a subscriber to the Post Office London Telephone Exchange System (with the number Wimbledon 1228), Hickox was identified as a ‘Photographic Specialist’ of 252 Haydon's Road. The move from number 297 appears to have been a move to larger premises.
A further GB patent application – ‘Improvements relating to Photographic Cameras’ – was filed on 15th June 1920, completed on 14th March 1921, and accepted on 7th July 1921. This final Hickox patent appears to have been for a variation on the button camera, using rectangular plates. His address was given as 18 Stanley Road, Wimbledon.
The death of Herbert Edward Hickox was registered in Kingston, Surrey, in 1929.
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