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Someone had only to pay a shilling and sit perfectly still next to it for the space of a minute to obtain a likeness alleged to be more accurate than anything a living artist could have drawn.
The machine relied on principles very different from those of photography, first introduced to the world via the daguerreotype in 1839, and its portraits didn’t anticipate the photographic portraits of later years in any technical sense.
In both cases, they would have been told that their likenesses were being captured automatically, without the mediation of a human observer, although they might still have paid extra for someone to touch up the results afterwards or add color to them.
It is the UK’s largest online domestic appliance retailer, with a 24 per cent share of the market.
But the key to success is being ‘fanatical about service’ and having a ‘fun working culture’, said Mr Roberts.
However, analysts have warned that the valuation of at more than five times its annual sales of £275million could lead to a crash similar to the dotcom bubble, when technology companies saw huge leaps in value in the late 1990s before plummeting in 2001.
Between 18, a machine was exhibited around Great Britain that was advertised as taking people’s portraits by strictly automatic means.
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