Ernest Denton & Panoramic Photograpy

Denton Details

KW Real Estate Board Picnic, 28 June 1961

KW Real Estate Board Picnic, 28 June 1961. Photographer: Al Pirak. (P010378 KPL)

This post is a quick follow up on my last Ernest Denton post and my UK research on the Denton brothers’ origins.  The discovery of the Denton/Denby/Dembovitch connection led me down several interesting paths.

Like Harris (who may be Ernest Denton), Myer (nee Dembovitch) Denby disappeared after the 1901 UK census, or so I thought. One evening, while searching the British Newspaper Archives, I stumbled across the following clipping from the 22 January 1904 edition of the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser:

Myer Denby - court case 22 Jan 1904 - Manchester

Myer Denby – Explosive cigarettes court case – Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 22 Jan 1904, p3.

Myer Denby appears to have been in business with his uncle Myer Franks (married to Eli Dembovitch’s sister, Betty) in early 1904 and to have been trading in “explosive cigarettes”.  It is interesting to note that Ernest’s 11 Nov 1957 obituary noted that he had photographed the 1904 New Zealand Parliament which opened in June of that year. Was Ernest actually Myer Denby who made a hasty exit from the UK following this episode? I can’t say for sure, but it does make for an interesting story.

The other connection that I made during my research was to a Lancashire researcher who kindly shared with me his Dembovitch family notes, helping to confirm the Eli and Dora Dembovitch link to Ernest and Samuel Denton.  My Dembovitch research connection is a friend of the grandson of Louis Denby – so I’ve been able to help fill in a few blank pieces in their family history – which has been a happy consequence of this project.  What I found interesting is that the family had heard a story about two brothers of Louis who travelled to America and had their passage paid by father, Eli. This seems to fit with the departure of  Ernest and Samuel, who left in 1913 for Canada. We are still looking for UK and Canadian connections to Ernest and Samuel and the extended Denby family. If you have any leads or information, please drop me a line using the contact form on the blog.

Local historian rych mills pointed me to some Kitchener Daily Record articles which detailed Ernest Denton’s interests in an apartment building near Weber and Victoria and the Tom Thumb Indoor Golf Course in the Dunke building on King Street West in the early 1930s. The articles demonstrated Ernest’s keen business sense and community involvement. Many thanks go to rych for his enthusiasm for this project and his Denton insights.

And, I wanted to also thank Laureen Harder-Gissing of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario for permission to use the image of Ernest Denton and his camera (1945) on my “Desperately Seeking Ernest” post. It was such a timely addition to the MAO online collection – especially when I had just about given up hope of finding an image of Ernest Denton.

The panoramic at the top of this post is reportedly the last image taken with Denton’s Cirkut camera. It was taken by photographer, Al Pirak, on 28 June 1961 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board picnic.  The camera is now part of the collection of the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa – the donation of which set in motion our blog series on Denton and the Cirkut camera. Many thanks to Michel Labrecque for his invitation to explore the history of the camera and the work of Ernest Denton.

If you take a close look at the picnic image, you’ll see a panoramic prankster. The same man appears at each end of the second row – a fleet footed picnic participant who managed to be captured twice by the rotation of the Cirkut camera.

Left end of 2nd Row (P010378)

Left end

Right end of 2nd row (P010378)

Right end


I haven’t closed the book on Ernest. I’ll be looking for him in my travels and welcome any information about him, his work and his family.

Up next, Samuel Denton’s story. Stay tuned!

Cheers, Karen