American Optical Co., Scovill Mfg. Co., props.

Flammang's Patent Revolving Back Camera, Front Focus

Scovill's Dry Plate Making for Amateurs, ads p. 15
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Nickel-plated label on front of camera
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Patent stamp on back of camera - the patent refers to the revolving back mechanism
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Manufacturer: American Optical Co. New York, NY factory
Date Introduced:
- ; Years Manufactured: c.1884-1896
Construction: front focus via rack and pinion (single gear track on top of middle base rail); single or double swing; reversing by revolving back (the Flammang patent); three-piece lens board
Materials: mahogany body; mahogany base; black fabric bellows; brass hardware; French polish finish
Sizes Offered: 4x5; 4x5; 5x7; 5x8; 6x8; 8x10
Notes:

     The Flammang's Revolving-Back Camera Back Focus Variation 2 (Brass Hardware) shares the same basic construction as the Acme Reversible Back View Box Variation 1, except for the presence of the patented revolving back.  It could use either SGC (Scovill's Glass Corner) plate-holders (for wet plates) or Daisy plate-holders (for dry plates).  The advertisements have but one price list for either the Front Focus Pattern or Back Focus Pattern.  They came in a canvas "bag", which may be the term for the canvas-covered cardboard cases of the time, or, considering that they don't appear to show up now in any kind of case, it could have been as stated: a bag, none of which survived long.

     The revolving back is usually stamped "Flammang's Pat. Aug. 21, '83 No. 283,589", not to be confused with Flammang's other major patent, the rod and cylinder device for making a folding bed rigid, which is usually stamped "Flammang's Pat. Oct. 20, 1885" (#328,664).  Cameras have been erroneously sold as "Flammang's Patent" cameras merely because they were marked with the folding bed patent date.  The 8x10 camera is pictured above and the 11x14 version below.  By late 1896, the Rotating Back Cameras were consigned to the "Bargain Page" of the American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1897 (page lxi), which probably indicates an attempt to get rid of discontinued stock.

     There is also a version with nickel-plated hardware: Flammang's Revolving-Back Camera Back Focus Variation 1 (Nickel Hardware).

References:
Descriptive Catalogue and Price List of the Photographic Apparatus Manufactured by the American Optical Co., Scovill Mfg. Co., proprietors and managers (New York, NY), Sept. 1884, pp.54-55
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Andrew J. Smith (Providence, RI), 1886, p. 38
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 12, Photographic Chemistry, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1886, p. a23
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 20, Dry Plate Making for Amateurs, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1886, p. a15
How to Make Pictures, 4th edition, Henry Clay Price, Scovill Mfg. Co., publishers (New York, NY), dated 1887, copyright 1886, p.a13
The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1888, C.W. Canfield, ed.; Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), copyright 1887, ads p. 57
Scovill's Photographic Series No. 26, The Photographic Instructor, Prof. Charles Ehrmann, Scovill Mfg. Co., 1888, ads p. xvi
Catalog P, Photographic Material, J. W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1886, p. 74 (As Revolving Back Camera, Front Focus)
Photographic Lenses and How to Select Them, James W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1887, p. 27
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by C.H. Codman & Co. (Boston, MA), April 1887, p. 37
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), undated but about January 1888, pp. 39-40
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by C.H. Codman & Co. (Boston, MA), September 1888, p. 29
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Buchanan, Bromley & Co. (Philadelphia, PA) Catalog, 1888
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), January 1889, p. 28
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Buchanan, Bromley & Co. (Philadelphia, PA) Catalog, 1889
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1890, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), ads p. 100
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Oscar Foss (San Francisco, CA), June 1890, pp. 29-30
Photographic Material, Catalogue O & P, James W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1891, p. 60 (as Revolving Back Camera Front Focusing)
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Sargent & Co. (Cleveland, OH), April 1891, p. 21
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Horgan, Robey & Co. (Boston, MA), June 1891, p. 21
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1892, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1891, p. 94
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), January 1892, p. 21 (as Revolving Back Camera Front Focus Pattern)
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1893, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1891, p. 90
The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1894, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1893, p. 95
How to Make Photographs and a Descriptive Catalogue of Photographic Materials Illustrated, Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1896, p. 35
Wilson's Cyclopaedic Photography, Edward L. Wilson (New York, NY), copyright 1894, p. 478
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1897, The Scovill & Adams Co., ads p. cii (engraving in an ad for Obrig Camera Co. (New York, NY); also on the "Bargain Page", page 61
The International Annual of Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, Vol. X, 1897, E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. (New York, NY), 1897, p. 83 (engraving in an ad for Obrig Camera Co. (New York, NY)
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1898, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1897, ads p. 115 (Bargain Page)

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