Our past

Photon Beard, formerly R.R.Beard Limited, was founded in 1882. In those Victorian times, gas-powered limelight was the only form of light available that was powerful enough for use in theatre lighting and magic lanterns. It was Robert R. Beard who invented and pioneered the first automatic gas pressure regulator as well as many other new developments in this field.

Although in those early days, a wide range of gas- controlled lighting equipment was manufactured by the company, it was in the theatre, film and photographic industries that R. R. Beard made its name. After the introduction of the early magic lanterns, the company developed a range of projection equipment, including the first portable movie projector.

In the 1920s and 30's Beard was one of the recognised names for lighting within the British Film Industry. It was Beard's lighting equipment that was chosen for the then- new Pinewood Film Studios, which led to further installations in many London and provincial theatres.

During the Second World War, the company specialised in supplying security systems for the Admiralty and Air Ministry. Peacetime saw the company concentrating on the design and manufacture of professional photographic equipment for studio and darkroom production. It was during this period that the company developed a range of photographic enlarging easels, which became an instant success and a world-wide market leader.

With the advent of portable television and video cameras, new avenues were opened for the development of high- quality, portable lighting equipment, which the company now manufactures and exports to world markets.  The company continues to design and develop new cost-efficient, energy-saving, cool-running, portable fluorescent lighting systems, which are proving to be another success story. Although this is their primary focus, they realise that tungsten is still a vital part of the lighting industry and thus have created tungsten lighting to the highest quality, including their excellent Fresnel range.

Robert Royou Beard (1856–1932) was born in Bermondsey, London . His family were in the wine trade, but the young Robert became apprenticed to Oakley's, a firm of brass-finishers, who were involved in the manufacture of magic lanterns. He invented an automatic regulator for high-pressure oxygen cylinders, a necessity for lantern illuminants, and in 1882 set up his own company, R.R. Beard Ltd., to manufacture it. His next-most successful invention was the Eclipse slide carrier, which made magic lantern operation easier, and gave a primitive mix on the screen. Beard had a practical interest in cinematography from its first appearance in England.

In 1946, his son Percy recalled being taken to see the 1896 Lumiere Cinematographe show at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Very soon afterwards, the Beard Cinematograph (with Maltese cross intermittent) appeared on the market, and Beard projectors were produced well into the next century.

The "new" Broadshield

A range of products used pre-digital!!

So... who still has one of these tucked away somewhere?

Back in the psychedelic days of 1974 at Photokina!

Quartz Lighting

Old and the newly old Dimmer packs