|Description||H.C. White is not a repository, strictly speaking. It appears here to link it with the photographs the company published that appear in the Virtual Shanghai collection.|
Hawley C. White was born in North Bennington, Vermont on December 25, 1847. At age 21 he moved to New York City and formed a partnership with Bernard G. Surdam. Surdam & White as the business was known, was located at 305 Broadway and they sold stereoscopes, views and lenses. In 1874 he moved the business to North Bennington Vermont where he built a factory for the production of stereoscopes. About 1886 the factory burned and White rebuilt the new one more than twice the original size. With the expanded factory he began producing stereographs that were available individually or in boxed sets. The stereographs were called the “Perfec-Stereograph” and were of high quality. In 1907 a three story building was constructed for the mechanized production of stereoviews. The view list exceeded 13,000 views.
White obtained 11 patents in his own name while his son Harrie, DOB 1877, obtained 2 in his own name. An additional 2 patents were issued jointly and one more was issued to Hawley and C. S. Beach making a total of 16 patents for the Company. By 1900 it was a family business with the addition of youngest son Clarence, DOB 1879, as a Company photographer.
White was the largest producer of stereoscopes in the world. His crowning achievement was a prize he won at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair. Many of the metal hooded viewers found today will have this emblem stamped in the center of the hood.
White produced stereoscopes for James Davis, Sears & Roebuck, Underwood & Underwood, T. W. Ingersoll and R. Y. Young to name a few. Many viewers will be unmarked and sold by countless other retail firms or sold as promotional items such as breakfast cereal.