(Manchester, 1869-Londres, 1947)

langfier adolph portrait2

Jean-Claude SEGUIN


Langfier. Descendance:

  • Maurice Langfier épouse Rachel [Langfier]. Descendance :
  • Samuel Szmol Langfier (Varsovie, 07/05/1842-Londres, 07/10/1919) épouse Ellen Liebeskind (Varsovie, 1848-Londres, 07/05/1939). Descendance :
    • Louis, Saul Langfier (Czestochowa, 1861-27/10/1925)
      • épouse Ellen [Langfier]{/tip} (1863-07/05/1939). Descendance:
        • James Maurice Langfier (Blackburn, 17/08/1884-1972) épouse (Camden, 23/07/1910) Elsie Millicent Cubitt (1883-)
        • Adolph Langfier (Scotland, 1888-)
      • épouse (1903) Pearl Rose Lichtheim (Prestwich, 1882-Edimbourg, 26/12/1946). Descendance:
        • Eric, Samuel Langfier (Glasgow, 29/09/1903-Miami, 01/03/1986) épouse Noel D. Crowley (Antilles, 1914-)
        • Iris Langfier épouse Bauman. Descendance :
          • Leonard Bauman épouse Maria.
    • Louis, Adolph Langfier (Manchester, 1869-Londres, 1947) épouse (New York, 11/08/1889) Bessie Jacobs (Manchester, 1867-Londres, 03/1947). Descendance :
      • Emily, Rachel Langfier (New York, 22/05/1890-Londres/Hampstead, 06/1968)
      • Louisa Langfier (Boston, 06/05/1892-) épouse Cornut.
      • Sybil Langfier (Chiswick, 08/03/1898) épouse Raymond, Antony Vitali (1888-)
      • Cecilia Langfier (Londres, 23/08/1912-Atlantic City, 23/08/1912)

Plusieurs incertitudes demeurent dans cette généalogie.


La famille Langfier trouve ses origines en Russie et en Pologne. L'un des frères, Samuel Langfier, qui exerce la profession de photographe, s'installe en Grande-Bretagne, probablement après la naissance de son fils Louis Saul, né à Varsovie en 1863. Son deuxième enfant, Louis Adolph voit le jour en 1969, à Manchester. Tout comme son père, Louis est photographe. Adolph, quant à lui, s'embarque pour les États-Unis alors qu'il n'a pas encore vingt ans, se marie (1889) et devient père à deux reprises. Il est de retour en Grande-Bretagne, probablement vers 1894. C'est également à cette époque que leur oncle Louis Langfier rejoint son neveu Louis Saul (naturalisé en 1891) avec lequel il constitue, à Glasgow, la "Langfier and Co." qui se consacre à la photographie.

The Grand Kinematograph (octobre 1896-juin 1897)

Adolph Langfier est, pour sa part, installé à Croydon sans que l'on connaisse la nature de ses activités avant celle du cinématographe. Au cours de l'année 1895, il rejoint la "Bender & Co", entreprise de Victor Bender, à laquelle The Photogram consacre les suivantes lignes :

AN UNUSUALLY well-equipped studio and workrooms for enlarging and finishing in bromide, carbon, and platinotype, are those of Bender & Co., George-street, Croydon. The firm es probably the only one in England that does a regular and considerable business with continental countries in photographic enlargements. Through special agents in some of the chief cities of France, Germany, and Belgium, such a trade is conducted; and on the other hand the firme imports direct from the continental manufactures, a series of special patterns of frames. One of the members of the firm is A. Langfier, to whose very fine air-brush work we have more than once referred, and as a natural consequence, air-brush work is a distinct specialty.

The Photogram, vol. III, nº 25, janvier 1896, p. 23.



afin d'assurer l'exploitation du "Grand Kinematograph" inventé par Gilbert Harrison et son père. Une des toutes premières représentations a lieu au Camera Club de Croydon en octobre 1896.

[...] a newly invented camera and projection apparatus, called the Grand Kinematograph, which had just been perfected by the firm of which their member, Mr Victor Bender, was one of the leading partners, viz., Messrs Bender & Co., of Croydon. The apparatus in question was in many ways a great advance upon those machines hitherto shown; the negatives were double the size of any other camera of the class, the vibration was much reduced, as also were the noise and clatter which usually accompany the projecting apparatus when in action. The President was able to announce that by the kindness of Messrs Bender & Co. , Mr Adolph Langfier had promised to show the Grand Kinematograph in action at the lantern show of the Club, to be held on January 13, 1897.

The British Journal of Photography, vol. 43, nº 1905, 6 novembre 1896, p. 715-716.

Si l'on exclut la vue prise, sans doute par les Harrison, à Balmoral lors de la visite du tsar en octobre, il semble que les premières photographies animées saisies par le Grand Kinematograph soient l'oeuvre d'Aldolph Langfier comme l'indique le suivant article :

Croydon Camera Club-The twenty-ninth public show of lantern slides at the Braithwaite, on the 13th inst., drew a large audience, numbers being unable to obtain admission.
Another Kinematograph.

The photographic portion of the entertainment concluded with the display of ten scenes shown by means of Messrs. Bender & Co.’s grand kinematograph. These photographs, which, counting positive and negative, numbered 24.000, were taken by a member of the Club, Mr. Adolphe Langfier, who had intended explaining them, but, prevented by illness, the duty was, at the last moment, undertaken by the President of the Club. Although, in consequence of an accident, the improved kinematograph was not available, the mimicking of motion exhibited on a twenty-foot screen seemed to be most heartily enjoyed by the assemblage, which on several occasions expressed their feelings by a perfect storm of applause, particularly acceptable being Demolition of Old Railway Station, Croydon Croydon, and Yacht Landing Pleasure Party, Hastings. At intervals during the evening a team of banjoists, under the direction of Miss Cumbers, performed a welcome programme of songs, choruses and ensembles. His Worship the MAYOR OF CROYDON (Mr. Martin Luther Moss) said he had followed Mr. Bellin’s remarks and pictures with very considerable pleasure and interest, inasmuch as several of the scenes portrayed had been quite recently visited by himself ; he could therefore bear witness to the admirable truthfulness of representation present in Mr. Bellin’s pictures. This might seem superfluous praise, but, when it is remembered that photography is capable of taking portraits that no one can recognise, it was well to testify to photography’s occasional truthfulness.

The British Journal of Photography, 22 janvier 1897, p. 61.

Adolph Langfier, qui n'a donc pas pu être lui-même présent, va fournir de plus amples explications lors de la séance qui a lieu deux semaines plus tard, le 27 janvier :

Croydon Camera Club.— There was a full room on Wednesday evening, the 27th ult., when Mr. A. E. Isaac opened a discussion upon
He advocated a somewhat brief exposure, viz., about half the normal, and that development should not be pushed too far, but rather that a thin, although not weak, negative should be obtained, and full printing density secured by intensification. An animated discussion ensued, in which Messrs. J. Smith, Kough, Richardson, Carley, Packham, Langfier, Hirst, and A. Jenkins took part, and also showed negatives or prints in illustration of their contentions. The President (Mr. Hector Maclean), in closing the discussion, remarked that the differences in amount of exposure, ranging from thirty-five seconds down to one two-hundredth of a second, related by members, are explicable by the different object each had in view. He thought that the secret of good snow scenes lay more in effective lighting than in absolute correct exposure. A cordial vote of thanks to Mr. Isaac was carried by acclamation. Following the above, Mr. ADOLPHE LANGFIER showed and explained great part of the mechanism of the improved model of the
Grand Kinematograph.
The machine in question was compared with the original design (the one used at the last lantern show) and the various improvements pointed out. Without entering minutely into technicalities, the main improvements consisted in less power being needed to work the machine, much less noise, less flicker ; finally, much steadier pictures were obtainable, due to an improved film perforator, which ensures accurate registering. Mr. Langfier showed a number of positive and negative reels of celluloid photographs, including a set of 1200 snap-shots taken about 11.30 on that same morning of skating at the Morland pond. He also handed each member a print taken from one of the above negatives, about fifty prints being thus distributed, all made within the course of about six hours. The estimated exposure of the foregoing negatives was between one-two-hundredth and one one-hundredth of a second. Mr. T. J. Harrison, who, on behalf of Messrs. Bender, constructed the improved grand kinematograph, from the designs of his son, Mr. G. H. Harrison, explained some of the technical difficulties which had to be surmounted in perfecting the machine. Many questions having been put and answered, the meeting accorded Mr. Langfier a loudly expressed vote of thanks. Mr. Kough was selected to audit the accounts for presentation to the annual meeting. The Mayor (Coun. Martin Luther Moss), with several other gentlemen, was elected a member of the Club.

The British Journal of Photography, 5 février 1897, p. 94.

C'est également l'occasion de présenter une nouvelle vue, Skating at the Morland Pond, prise le matin même. Les présentations de l'appareil restent peu nombreuses. En janvier, Adolph Langfier présente son Grand Kinematograph au Theatre Royal de Croydon. En avril, c'est à la synagogue d'Hammersmith que sont projectées les vues animées :

The annual distribution of prizes, and Purim entertainment, to the pupils attending the religion and Hebrew classes, in connection with the Hammersmith and West Kensington Synagogue, Brook Green took place on Thursday, thw 25th ulto., at he Broadway Lecture Hall, Hammersmith.
Dr. Friedlander returned thanks, and the second part of the programme was proceeded with. It consisted as follows: -pianoforte solo, Mr. Frank Hamblin; Song, "The Promise of Life," Mrs. I. Sandheim; doulogue, "How to manage a Baby," Misses Sadie Collins and Beatrice Freedman: grand kinematograph, exhibited by Mr. A. Langfier. The proceedings concluded with "God Save the Queen," the solo being taken by Mrs. I. Sandheim.

The West London Observer, vendredi 2 avril 1897, p, 7.

Peu après, Aldoph Langfier devient l'un des responsables de la nouvelle "Bender & Langfier": 

We are informed that in future Messrs. Bender & Co., of Croydon, will trade under the style of Bender & Langfier. The firm's new address is 242, London-road, Croyon.

The British Journal of Photography, 9 avril 1897, p. 236.

The Velograph Syndicate (juin 1897-)

Coîncidence ou choix assumé, toujours est-il que le nom "Grand Kinematograph" est remplacé par celui de "Velograph" au moment du jubilé de la reine Victoria. Il s'agit essentiellement d'adapter l'appareil pour qu'il puisse passer des films en 35 mm bien plus courant que le 70 mm, un format très particulier. 

1897 velograph 1897 velograph 02
The Velograph (1897)
source: Cinémathèque française

 1897 06 velograph
The Photographic Dealer, juin 1897, p. XXV.

Adolph Langfier continue à tourner des films comme le Derby de 1897 et le Jubilé de la reine Victoria.

THE Velograph Syndicate, of 242, London-road, Croydon, send as some specimen strips of animated photographs of the principal parts of the Jubilee procession. The pictures are of great excellence.British Journal of Photography, 2 juillet 1897, p. 427.


MESSRS. BENDER & LANGFIER, of 242, London-road, Croydon, have just received, at the German Photographic Convention at Hanover, the first prize, silver medal, and diploma.The British Journal of Photography, 10 septembre 1897, p. 588.

MR. A. LANGFIER writes us that he has withdrawn from partnership in the firme of Bender & Langfier, of Croydon, and has also resigned his position as managing director of Velograph Syndicate, Croydon. He has now opened an office at 494 High Road, Chiswick, where he is prepared to receive orders for enlargements by all processes, and will carry on an agency for cinematographs, films, and all animated photography supplies.The Photograrphic Dealer, 1898, v. 4-5, p. 68.


naturalisation de Louis Saul Langfier. (15 avril 1898).

THE Business of Photographers and Portrait Artists carried on by the Subscribers at 158 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, under the Name or Style of LANGFIER and LANGFIER & CO., was DISSOLVED of mutual consent, as at 9th May 1898, in consequence of the Business being converted into a Limited Liability Company.
The Limited Company will collect all accounts due to the dissolved Firm, and all accounts incurred prior to the Dissolution will be paid at 158 Sauchiehall Street aforesaid.
A. D. MENZIES, of 204 West George Street, Glasgow, Writer,
CHARLES S. CAMPBELL, of 204 West George Street, Glasgow, Law-Clerk, Witnesses to the Signatures of Louis Langfier and Louis Saul Langfier.
JAMES R TAIT, of 79 West Regent Street, Glasgow, Writer,
JAMES SCOTLAND, of 79 West Regent Street, Glasgow, Law-Clerk, Witnesses to the Signature of Adam Edelshain.
Glasgow, 13th October 1898.The Edinburgh Gazette, Edimbourg, 14 octobre 1898, p. 1011.

recensement 1901 (Louis Langfier : photographe)

recensement 1911 : Samuel Langfier

Louis Langfier est l'oncle de Louis Saul Langfier., est lui aussi un photographe connu dont on peut apprécier la notoriété dans l'article suivant:

MR. LOUIS LANGFIER has been called "The Napoleon of Photography." Two short years ago, the pretty woman and the ambitious statesman seeking immortality by aid of a Langfier photograph had to journey up to Glasgow, but it may be truly said that "He came, he saw, he conquered," and now his delightful habitat, situated in Old Bond Street, within two doors of the historic Truefitt's, is lined with the counterfeit presentments of many of those
who have made or who I are making history at the present moment. It is there, while waiting I to catch Mr. Langfier disengaged for a few moments, that the visitor becomes aware of what differentiates his work from that of some of his innumerable rivals. A glance at any half-dozen examples of his art reveals the fact that he possesses an intuitive genius for pose. Mr. Langfier is an artist first, a photographer afterwards, and this is why his camera gives dignity and sympathetic grace to his plainer sitters though he would never for one moment admit that he has ever taken a plain sitter -while a beautiful woman taken by him reveals fresh and unexpected charms.
"When did I take up photography?" observed Mr. Langfier meditatively. "Some seven years ago, when I joined my nephew, L. S. Langfier, who had already made his reputation in America, and who now represents the firm at Glasgow. I come of a long line of people interested in art, and my experience leads me to believe that a photographer, like a poet, is born, not made. To take my own case, and I do not claim to be anything very extraordinary," he added modestly, I was successful from the first, and so, after some hesitation, I made up my mind to give London a trial. This was two years ago. Twelve months later saw me established here, for I soon realised that I must begin as I meant to go on, and we know in Glasgow that Old Bond Street is the Hub of the Universe!"
"I take it that you had not long to wait for sitters?"
"When I tell you that my first success was scored with
you will realise that I was able to count myself exceptionally fortunate. From the first, I made a point of obtaining all the best electrical appliances, and the globular reflector used in my studio is the largest ever made for the purpose. The photographer who has mastered the art of lighting his sitter has practically nothing more to learn but it is an art, and one, curiously enough, to which the amateur rarely pays the slightest attention. I consider it all-important, even in miniature work, of which, by the way, I have now made for some time a speciality."
"I suppose it would be indiscreet to ask you any questions concerning the idiosyncrasies of your more famous sitters ?"
Mr. Langfier laughed gaily. "Yes and no. Perhaps I may whisper that American ladies are exceptionally good sitters. This is supremely true, for example, of Mrs. Arthur Paget and of the Duchess of Marlborough. Then, again, Royal personages are quite exceptionally courteous and charming in their manner. To take
is a real pleasure, and yet, owing to the fact that the photograph was taken at Gloucester House, my portrait of him necessitated a very long- exposure. The Duke, who looks scarcely a day over sixty, sat as firm as a rock, and I was thus able to obtain a quite exceptionally good result."
"I have heard, Mr. Langfier, that those of your fair sitters who devote so much of their leisure to organising great Charity Fêtes regard you as a veritable Mascotte?"
Well, I admit that my efforts in connection with the Charing Cross Bazaar led to my being made a Life Governor of that most excellent institution. In the case of the National Bazaar, held last season, my firm presented the Committee with ten thousand half-guinea coupons, each entitling the buyer to three cabinet-photographs. Even now, people turn up with these coupons. Then I made myself
Scarce a week now goes by without my being asked to take part in some affair of the kind; but, though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. However, I am always ready to do what I can, and I am just starting off for Manchester, where I have a studio in connection with the Victorian Fête organised by the Countess of Derby and Lady Gerard. I am also busy with the Souvenir Book for the grand Stafford House Fête on June 26."
The Sketch, 26 juin 1901, p. 386.

En février 1908, la famille quitte Southampton pour New York.

recensement 1911 Londres

recensement 1911. Londres (James Maurice Langfier)

langfier adolph portrait

lyndon pearl 1924 fiche
Fife Criminal Register Photographs; Reference: A/AAX 7/3/4


langfier adolph portrait 03


BARNES John, The Beginnings of The Cinema in England 1894-1901. Vol. 1 1894-1896, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1976, 294 p.


06->06/09/1897 Grande-Bretagne Godalming Public Hall velograph