The Man Who Loved Snowflakes
During his life, Wilson Bentley took more than 5,000 photos of snowflakes.
Courtesy of the Jericho Historical Society/snowflakebentley.com
Snowflake Bentley at work behind his camera
Are snowflakes really as beautiful as everyone thinks? The answer is yes! We know this thanks to a man named Snowflake Bentley, who spent his life studying and taking photos of snowflakes. Now, these photos can be seen online!
Bentley, whose real first name was Wilson, was born in 1865 in Vermont, where winters are very snowy. Luckily for Bentley, he loved snow.
When he was a teenager, Bentley started looking at snowflakes under a microscope, which is an instrument that makes small objects look bigger. Bentley was amazed when he noticed that each snowflake seemed to have its own special design. He felt as if snowflakes were beautiful art. There was just one problem—snowflakes melt, and the art is lost forever. So Bentley decided he needed to capture pictures of snowflakes before it was too late. He started by trying to draw snowflakes, but that took too long. So, instead, he began to photograph the flakes.
Over the course of his life, Bentley took more than 5,000 photos of snowflakes. He never found any two that were the same. In 1899, the Natural History Museum in London, England, bought 355 of Bentley’s photos. The photos are now online so that anyone can look at them.
Bentley and his hobby were also celebrated in a 1998 picture book called Snowflake Bentley.
If you live in a place where it snows, see if you can catch a few snowflakes. You’ll never see the same design twice!