'Samuel Plimsoll', 1876.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photographic portrait of Samuel Plimsoll [1824-1898] taken by Samuel Robert Lock [1822-1881] and George Carpe Whitfield, in 1876. Famous in shipping for his 'Plimsoll Line', Plimsoll began his career as a coal merchant. His research into this trade made him acutely aware of the dangers sailors faced. Dubbed 'the Sailors Friend', Plimsoll persuaded Parliament to amend the 1871 Merchant Shipping Act. This ensured that a 'Plimsoll Line', marked on a ship's side, was a legal requirement. This line disappeared below water if the ship was overloaded. This Woodburytype is from 'Men of Mark', a series of books featuring prominent men of the time, published between 1876 and 1883. A brief biographical esay by Thompson Cooper accompanies each portrait. The Woodburytype was a photomechanical proces patented in 1864 by Walter Bentley Woodbury (1834-1885). It produced high-quality images used for book illustration and remained popular until about 1900.