Francis Edgar Stanley

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Francis Edgar Stanley
Francis Edgar Stanley c1882.jpg
Born(1849-06-01)June 1, 1849
DiedJuly 13, 1918(1918-07-13) (aged 69)
Cause of deathCar accident
EducationWestern State Normal School
Known forStanley Steamer
Parent(s)Solomon Stanley
Apphia Kezar French
RelativesFreelan Oscar Stanley, brother

Francis Edgar Stanley, also known as F. E. Stanley (June 1, 1849 – July 13, 1918), was an American businessman and was the co-founder, along with his twin brother Freelan Oscar Stanley, of the Stanley Motor Carriage Company which built the Stanley Steamer.


He and his twin brother, Freelan Oscar Stanley (otherwise known as Freel, or more often F. O.) learned to carve violins as taught by their grandfather, Liberty Stanley, at the age of ten. He attended Western State Normal School, now known as the University of Maine at Farmington.[1] While F. O. initially became a teacher, F. E. took a different path, moving to Lewiston, Maine and opening a photography studio in 1874. Within a few years, the studio was one of the largest in New England, and his twin brother eventually joined him in the business.[2] During that time, F. E. patented the first photographic airbrush, which he used to colorize photos.[2]

Several years later, they were dissatisfied with the quality of the dry plates that at the time were entering major use in the industry. They patented a machine for coating mass quantities of dry plates, and set up the Stanley Dry Plate Company in Watertown, Massachusetts (the company was later moved to Rochester, New York). By the 1890s, that business had over $1 million in annual sales.[2] However, the brothers abandoned photography when they became interested in automobile development,[2] and sold the dry plate business to George Eastman of Eastman-Kodak for $500,000. However, the family's connection to photography continued with the career of the Stanley twins' younger sister, Chansonetta Stanley Emmons.

He died in 1918 in Wenham, Massachusetts when he drove his car into a woodpile while attempting to avoid farm wagons travelling side by side on the road.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Cicala, Roger (January 15, 2013). "The Most Interesting Photographer Ever Is..." Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  3. ^ Doris A. Isaacson, ed. (1970). Maine: A Guide Down East. Courier-Gazette, Inc. Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums. p. 386.