Pigeon power

Technological break throughs now enable us to take aerial images using aerial drones but back in the day, pigeons were all the rage ..

Ref: AWNS-19000817-6-6, Sir George Grey Special Collections
In 1907, Julius Neubronner (1852-1932), a German apothecary, invented an unusual method using carrier pigeons to capture aerial images. By creating a lightweight miniature camera and harness and training the pigeons to carry the contraption, Neubronner was able to produce aerial images.

Neubronner would release the pigeons about 90 km from his home and using an inbuilt pneumatic system in the camera, he was able to capture images at regular intervals. Whilst he could train the pigeons to carry a harness and camera, it was more difficult to instruct them to take images of the subject matter he wanted!

Ref: AWNS-1918092-33-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections
After demonstrating his invention at the 1909 International Photographic Exhibition in Dresden, Germany, Neubronner's invention became popular. However, superior forms of aerial photography superseded pigeon aerial photography and the idea was abandoned. Find out more.