Who Invented The Original Selfie Stick? What Is The Story Behind It?

Taking pictures became common ever since the invention of cameras. Different styles, ideas, and methods are what a photographer is striving to learn to get a better picture. Many people consider these photographers as artists because of their creative ways of taking photos.

Throughout the years, the popularity of the camera increased, including professional, digital – as well as cameras built-in phones. Because of the commonality of cameras, photography has become more famous to the public, especially to youngsters.

Today, we have the word selfie, which we often use when taking a picture of ourselves. Along with the selfie is the selfie stick, which helps us to have a better view when taking selfies. The evolution of photography had grown a long way to gain the recognition that it has today.

In this article, we are going to look further into the word “selfie.” Furthermore, what is its history, and mainly, what is the history of the selfie stick?

What is Selfie?

In our modern world, taking a picture of oneself is very common that we often come across someone doing so just by walking down the street. It became popular, especially during the rise of smartphones, particularly of phones with front-facing cameras. Many people are fond of taking a photo of themselves, wherein a graphic designer and engineer in Australia, named Mohammed Arif, eventually claimed that he coined the word “selfie,” defining the act of picturing oneself.

The word selfie was first used in 2002 to describe a photo on a website, which also means “self-portrait.”The first use of the word selfie was not yet typical to many people since the act of taking self-portraits was not much of a thing back then.

Years later, as the sale of smartphones grew, the number of people taking photos also increased dramatically. It is when people got interested in taking a picture of themselves and often posts it on social media. During this time, the word selfie started to go mainstream, and many people beganto use it more often.

Furthermore, aside from only taking a selfie, a lot of people consider using a device called a selfie stick, to help them take better selfies along with the background or with a group of people.

The idea of taking a photo of ourselves is nothing new, and it is something that originated years ago. We can trace back the oldest selfie ever recorded in history was on 1839 by the photographer Robert Cornelius.

Another vintage selfie was in 1909 when the founder of a photo studio in New York, Joseph Byron, had his arms outstretched while taking a photo of himself. This gesture is pretty much the same as the way we take selfies today.

What is the History of the Selfie Stick?

When we think about selfies, the first thing that might come in mind is using the front-face camera of our smartphones. This setup is the most basic way of taking a selfie since it allows us to look into ourselves as we pose for a picture. Because of this, we might come to think that selfie sticks were invented right after the rise of smartphones. However, this statement is not entirely true.

Like most inventions, the selfie stick was invented due to necessity. Surprisingly, the creation of the selfie stick did not come during the 21st century, but rather, during the early 80s – decades before the mobile phones arrived.

The interesting history of the selfie stick started when the Japanese engineer Hiroshi Ueda went on a family trip to Europe.  Ueda has the habit of taking photographs every time he is on tours. During their trip, he wanted to take a picture of him and his wife. However, he was hesitant to ask for favors from passers-by due to bad experiences from the past. This dilemma led him to think of a way to take photos of himself without asking for favors from strangers.

The idea came into his head, and he invented the first selfie stick in the 1980s while he was working for the Minolta Camera Company. His initial design of the device consisted of an extendable rod with a tripod screw to hold a small camera in place. In front of the camera was a mirror for the photographers to check if the angle looks fine.

Furthermore, they did not call the device as selfie sticks back then, but instead called it the “extender stick.” Ueda patented the extender stick in 1983 and was later on introduced to the market, but failed to become a commercial success.

In 1995, the extender stick became a part of the book, “101 Un-Useless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chidongu.” This book is a compilation of so-called useless inventions, including the funnel glasses and the extender stick.

The patent for Ueda’s invention expired in 2003, which is also the year when the modern selfie stick came into existence. A Canadian inventor, Wayne Fromm, came up with the same idea as Ueda. However, Fromm claims that he was unaware of Ueda’s invention, and his concept of the selfie stick has nothing to do with the prior version.

In 2005, he patented his version of the selfie stick called “Quik Pod.” His invention became a growing success for a span of ten years, and he was satisfied with the results of his hardwork. However, he was disappointed with the number of cheap knock-offs that were also gaining profit from his device, without his permission.