John Hutchinson Powre was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin n 1875. Following in his father’s footsteps, he began working with color in lithography. He traveled to Germany and studied the color process in the early 1900's. He returned to the United States to advance his research in the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison until the destruction of the laboratory by fire in 1914. His first color patent was issued in 1906.
At first, he was interested in prints on glass for projection, but after working with Edison, he turned to the possibilities of colored film. The prints on glass were called lantern slides and became a way to illustrate using screen projection.
Thanks to Norman Nelson, we have 75 of the lantern slides made by John Powrie. They consist of pictures from Scotland and probably date from around the turn of the century. Lantern slide projectors are no longer available except in some museums. The lantern slides are now part of the Scottish American Museum and have been copied to computer dics. We will show some of those slides prior to our Scottish American History Club meeting on October 2, 2010. (www.Chicagoscots.net).
In 1926, the Warner Powrie color film process was patented. In May, 1928, John Powrie presented his color film to a national film makers convention in California. By 1930, the firm was incorporated and ready to make full-length movies, The Great Depression brought an end to those dreams. John Powrie died in Chicago about 1935 and is buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. A search of the Chicago Tribune did not produce an obiturary.
In Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City, there is a grave stone with his name on it, but he and his wife are buried in Forest Home. The cemetery is one mile north of the Scottish Home on Des Plaines Avenue.