Benjamin Pitman was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, in 1822. He was the brother of Isaac Pitman, the inventor of the shorthand system. In 1852 Pitman emigrated to the United States and the following year established the Phonographic Institute in Cincinnati. In 1855 he invented an electrochemical process of relief engraving.
Pitman attended the trial of the men charged with conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. His book, The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators, was published in 1867. Benjamin Pitman, who also taught at Cincinnati Art School, died in 1910.