The Harrold Exposure Scale

Elmer Harrold was on board with the evolving technology of photography from very early on. Some of the glass plate negatives that have been passed down through the family to me are dated before 1900. His successful business ventures allowed him to spend time learning the ins and outs of the trade and getting enough knowledge to file a patent on an exposure meter. 

Elmer's older brother, Albert Harrold, was my great great grandpa, making Elmer my great great great Uncle. The glass plates have come to be in my possession through my great uncle (Norman F. Pregenzer, Jr) who was also an amateur photographer. Now that I have them, I would really like to preserve them and be able to keep them in good condition for the generations to come.


“Born near Columbiana, Ohio, on January 23, 1864, Elmer Harrold was the twelfth and youngest child born of Samuel and Susan Crumbacher Harrold. In the late 1800s, the Harrold name was well known as being strongly connected to industry in the areas around Leetonia, Ohio. Well known as an inventor, Harrold had at least fifteen patents issued in his name. While most of his patents related to woodworking machinery, a few were related to one of his favorite hobbies—photography. Harrold invented a special exposure meter that helped photographers determine the best settings for their cameras based on lighting. (After his retirement from Crescent, Harrold ran a small business where he sold these meters, advertising for them in photography periodicals.)"

Elmer Harrold in an orange grove in Florida

"In addition to his photography hobby, Harrold was fascinated with astronomy. His interest was great enough that Harrold eventually purchased an entire observatory and moved it to a specially built building on his property. The cornerstone of the observatory was a custom-made telescope, which was said at that time by some to be one of the finest privately owned telescopes in the United States. Using his photography skills, Harrold studied the heavens and photographed astronomical phenomenon and even contributed scientific articles on astronomy in such journals as Scientific American. Harrold later donated the entire observatory to Mount Union College after his daughter graduated from the institution in 1919. Nearly ninety years after his donation, the telescope is still in use at Mount Union College.” (Rucker)



Rucker, Keith. "A Short History of the Crescent Machine Company Part I: 1894 to 1920."The Chronicle 1 Dec. 2007: 137-57.