Sorry for the long delay between posts - just back from vacation.
Using artificial light to create images has a long history dating back to the very beginings of photography. One piece of equipment commonly used by the end of the 19th century, was the flash lamp. Specifically, the "horizontal pan" style flash lamp which reached popularity about 1900-1910. Most people recognize these from old movies, especially Westerns.
See the link below to watch a short video on how these were used. Check out the amount of smoke this throws off !
Simon Wing (1827-1911), was a unique person in the history of photography. According to Rob Niederman from antiquewoodcameras.com, "Wing first learned to make daguerreotypes at the age of twenty and became accomplished in other photographic processes. However he is best known for his studios and innovative multiplying cameras.
Mr. Wing helped introduce the tintype process to the public: essentially pictures made on enameled iron. He built the first multiplying camera that made it possible to make numerous pictures on a single plate without removing the plate from the camera. This revolutionized photography by overcoming the problem of making multiple, inexpensive portraits."
Wing was also very notable for his mostly complicated business and legal dealings. From the 1860's, he would go on to create a bit of an empire consisting of studios around the country bearing his name and focusing on Ferrotypes (Tintypes). These studios were called "Wing's Ferrotype & Photograph Rooms" which eventually became "Wing's Photograph Rooms." The studio business was in addition to his camera development and manufacturing work.
Below is a weekly report mailed to Simon Wing in November 1874 from an "Operator" of one of "Wing's Photograph Rooms" located in Syracuse, New York. The post card details the amount of business done during that time period. A unique piece of Simon Wing photographica.
Simon Wing Post Card
And, as fate sometimes plays itself out in collecting, in researching this item, I came across an eBay auction from 6 months ago, selling a lot of 4 of these Wing Post Cards, but from a Wing Studio out of Ohio in 1883.
Image Courtesy of http://myworld.ebay.com/vansywalsy
April 20, 2012
Marti Jones has an uncommon folding camera at Ebay currently. Marti, for those who don't know, is a terrific person and very dedicated camera collector. She has been a long standing member of PHSNE and even it's past President. PHSNE = Photographic Historical Society of New England. Marti also maintains this site featuring her collection.
Marti's auction is for a Monroe Pocket Camera. Silas French designed the camera type and was awarded a patent for the design on May 18, 1897. The camera was made and sold sold by the Monroe Camera Company of Rochester beginning in 1897. The higly compact camera, which was sold in a few sizes over time, is constructed of mahogany with brass struts and red leather bellows. This particular camera, the No. 2 model, took 3.5" x 3.5" inch sized images on dry plates or cut film. The camera measures just 4.25" x 4.25" x 1.5" when closed. This sized camera was known as the "Folding Camera," "Folding Pocket Camera" as well as the "No. 2 Folding Pocket Camera" in various advertising for the item. Made for about 2 years, these are pretty uncommon and with most of its original box - that just adds to the collectibility of this particular item.
McClures Magazine Volume 10, 1898
The Photographic Dealer and D. & P. Vol 4-5, November 1898
Image Courtesy Ebay / Marti Jones
April 13, 2012
I thought I would post a few images of some items photographic ephemera I have picked up recently.
April 5, 2012
Voigtlander is the first name in Antique portrait lenses. From the very beginnings of photography, Voigtlander was a company synonymous with high quality. While much is known about their Petzval lenses, catalog listings showing the various sizes/model numbers are not too common. Below is an 1864 catalog listing that should help identify each model. In 1864, the serial numbers for these lenses was at about 12,000.
One of the legends of the camera collecting hobby was Thurman "Jack" Naylor. Jack was a larger-than-life type of person and I had the great fortune to visit his home and receive a personal tour on two occasions to see his "museum," housed in his climate controlled and secured "basement."
While fellow collectors loved seeing Jack and hearing his distinctive voice, if you went to an auction and he was there, you knew if he was bidding against you - you were going to lose. Jack would raise his paddle and keep it high in the air until the item was his. Disappointing, but I never minded "losing" to such a great character and someone who gave so much to the hobby.
Unfortunately, Jack passed away in 2007. It was a sad day when the news came out of his passing. However, Jack certainly lives on in people's minds and hearts, not to mention in the many, many articles and editions of the Photographical Society of New England's Journals that Jack wrote and edited for many years.
You can learn more about Jack and see a brochure highlighting his collection by downloading the pdf file below.
You can read a brief biography of Jack here as well as hear him and his great voice in an NPR interview.
March 21, 2012
"Grant Romer, world-renowned photography authority and former Director of Conservation for the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, introduces recently evolved thinking about the daguerreotype in light of the dramatic changes in imaging and information technology over the last ten years.
Romer also examines the basics of daguerreotype connoisseurship through an overview of the history of the process and illustrations of the unique qualities of the daguerreotype."
Sit back and enjoy the hour and tweny five minute presentation first given in October 2010 to the The Daguerreian Society.
The E. & H.T. Anthony & Company is one of the seminal firms in the history of photography equipment. Starting with Edward Anthony in 1841, the firm eventually grew to be the largest supplier of photographic supplier in the world during the 19th century.
For your reading pleasure I present to you, Anthony's 1870 catalogue.
The George Eastman House has published a few books recently, with the most current selection being, "500 Cameras." While it's not the most scholarly work I have ever seen, it does contain beautiful images of 500 unique or historical cameras as well as the histocial background on each piece. It is well worth the amazon.com price of $ 17.43 ! Click below to read more about the book or to buy it on amazon.com
The E.I. Horsman Company, founded in 1865, was an extremely well known toy seller out of New York City. They are most famously known for their composition dolls, which are highly collected today.
With the amateur photography craze taking off in the 1880's, Horsman sold the "Eclipse" line of cameras. There were four models, known as the # 1, # 2, #3 and # 33 Eclipse Cameras. The #1 was a box camera, while the other three were inexpensive, wooden view cameras (tailboard form).
The # 2 model, which was 1/4 plate in format (3 1/4" x 4 1/4"), was sold as part of kit for students and children. It was first sold in 1887 and ran until about 1900. It was sold directly from Horsman, via Sears, Roebuck & Co., as well as given as premium giveaways (sales incentives) by many firms.
The # 2 Eclipse is made out of Cherry wood and "leatherette" material for the bellows. Because of its inexpensive build and the use of fragile bellows material, these cameras are very hard to find in complete and original condition. The example below is completely original and even includes the cardboard waterhouse stop inserted in it's simple brass lens (marketed as a "Quick-Acting Brass Mounted Lens").
This is a tiny camera - in fact, one of the smallest wooden view cameras sold in the US in the 19th century. You can see more information and see the other model Horsman Eclipse Cameras here.
While not rare, they are quite scarce showing up on eBay perhaps 2 or 3 times per year, but most are not in very good condition.
# 2 Horsman Eclipse
From Dec. 13, 1887 Harpers Weekly Magazine
March 3, 2012
In the late 1880's and in the 1890's, "Detective" and "Concealed" Cameras were being produced by many manufacturers in all kinds of shapes and sizes. One of the elite cameras in terms of collecting, is Scovill's "Book Camera," that was introduced in 1892. Despite being advertised for a few years, the camera is incredibly rare with only 6 known examples (according to Westlicht Auction House). I was fortunate enough many years ago to see one in the flesh owned by famed camera collector, Jack Naylor. You can learn more about Thurman "Jack" Naylor by clicking here.
Now, is your chance to own this super rare camera. Westlicht Auction House has one up for auction. See photos below and click on either image to go to the auction. Estimates are in the $ 35,000-50,000 USD range.
1892 Scovill Catalogue entry
March 1, 2012
On my way home last night, in the snow, I did a double take when I saw the license plate in front of me.
UPDATE - March 3, 2012
Ha ! Another BOKEH plate has been spotted. This time in Nevada. Image courtesy of Arne Dietrich.
Just in case you don't know what BOKEH is, take a peek at my page here and get a free download.
February 25, 2012
"The Minox is a subminiature camera conceived in 1922 and invented in 1936 by German-Latvian Walter Zapp, which Latvian factory VEF (Valsts Elektrotehniskā Fabrika) manufactured from 1937 to 1943. After World War II, the camera was redesigned and production resumed in Germany in 1948. Originally envisioned as a luxury item, it gained wide notoriety as a spy camera. Minox branched out into 110 format and 35mm cameras in 1976 and 1978, respectively. Minox continues to operate today, producing or branding optical and photographic equipment."
A wonderful and interesting video about Walter Zapp is shown below:
There are some tremendous resources on the internet for Minox cameras which is a testament to the camera lines popularity: