American Optical Co., Scovill Mfg. Co., props.
Unknown View Camera
Date Introduced: ; Years Manufactured: c. 1886
Construction: rear focus
via push-pull; double swing; reversing
via second tripod screw;
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows;
Sizes Offered: 4¼x6½;
Notes: The photographs
above are of a 4¼x6½" camera in a period case. Though unmarked, it is
presumed to be an American Optical camera because of its ground glass clips
which are identical to the clips on many American Optical and Scovill cameras.
The case has a label from Crouch & Fitzgerald of New York (luggage makers,
founded 1839), over which has been placed a label from J. W. Queen, 61 Williams
St., New York (see 1891 Jas. W.
Queen catalog). The camera is a back focus, non-tapering bellows
camera similar to the American Optical View Camera Boxes, but with the
following differences to the View Camera Box engravings above: 1) the engraving
shows a focus screw, 2) the engraving shows brass bed guides, 3) the engraving
has swing and tilt configuration different than the camera. The swing
arrangement of the above camera is identical to that in the
Flammang's Patent Revolving Back Camera (as shown
in the front focus example). It is tempting to think of it therefore
as the back focus version of the Flammang's Patent Revolving, albeit
without the revolving back, but the both versions of the Flammang cameras were
cone bellows at their heart, not straight bellows. The camera is therefore
a variation of this, the View Camera Box, or perhaps an unadvertised
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