Carl Thiel: Portrait Photographer, Inventor, and Early Filmmaker (1880s-1910s)

Carl Thiel: Portrait Photographer, Inventor, and Early Filmmaker (1880s-1910s)

Carl Thiel operated photography studios in Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota from the 1880s until the 1910s

This is a cabinet card by photographer Carl Thiel, who had a studio in Duluth Minnesota. There’s a little bit of information on the internet about Carl, but I was also fortunate to speak to one of his descendants who offered a few more insights.

This card is in really terrific condition.

Cabinet card with an albumen print by Carl Thiel. Thiel’s studio was located in the Ingall’s Block between 1887 and 1891, giving this print a timeframe.
The back of the card features a fanciful graphic. It says “Duplicates can be procured any time.” It also claims “Special attention given to all kinds of portraiture in crayon, ink, oil, or watercolor.”

Carl Thiel’s studio was located on Ingalls Block, in Duluth, between 1887 and 1891. His studio moved to 105 West Superior, in Duluth, between 1891 and 1901. It is also known that he had a studio in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1914.

He worked as a photographer between the 1880s and the 1910s. Apparently he was also a bit of an inventor. He held a patent on a hand crank mechanism used to turn a rotating mount for an Eastman Kodak Panoramic camera. 

He was particularly interested in making motion pictures of the mining industry around Duluth and he testified on behalf of workers in a contentious miner’s strike in 1917. 

Thiel was a former actor, and possibly a lady’s man. I found a newspaper article that said he was sued by a man for $15,000 in damages (and that’s in 1907 dollars — a ton of money) for successfully wooing and stealing a married man’s wife. I guess in those days you could get sued for such things. No word on how the lawsuit came out.

Thanks for reading.

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~ Keith

1 comment

  1. I have a photo by Carl Thiel of the Two Harbors Brass Band taken in 1897. Happy to send you a copy.

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