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

View Camera Boxes, Number 2 (Model No.'s 40-50 & No. 130)

Non-Folding Platform

 

A Descriptive Catalogue of the American Optical Co.'s Photographic Apparatus (abridged), Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1871, p.2

 

4 x 5" Non-Folding Platform camera.  It appears to have been made in the late 1860's.  The size and font design of its assembly number "9" is exactly the same as that found on a camera of the same era stamped "Peck", and therefore appears to have been made at the Scovill New Haven (Former Peck) factory.  




C.C. Harrison Petzval-type Radial Drive Lens No. 8784 (1861-1862, according to a chart of early lens serial numbers by Dan Colucci 2013).  The flange is a reproduction/replacement by S.K. Grimes.

 

 

 

4 x 5" Non-Folding Platform camera. 






 The stamp on the lens board reads: "Scovill Mfg. Co. NY".

Comparison of assembly number stamps of the camera above having a "Scovill Mfg. Co. NY" stamp (LP1071) and a camera having a "Samuel Peck & Co." stamp (Samuel Peck Field View Camera Folding Platform LP684).  They have not been adjusted for size, and therefore appear to be exactly the same height and width.  Both stampings also appear to have the same finial on the tops of their 2 and 6.  The conclusion is that these cameras were stamped with the same type stamps, and were therefore manufactured in the same factory, i.e., the New Haven factory formerly used by Peck and sold to Scovill in the 1860's.

 

 

Manufacturer: American Optical Co. New York, NY factory
Date Introduced:
1870 ; Years Manufactured: c.1871 - c.1882
Construction: rear focus via push-pull with fine focusing screw; 0/1/2 swing; non-reversing; three-piece lens board
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: #40=3x4; #41=4x5; #42=6x8; #43=8x10;#54=10x12; #44=8x10 w/ focusing rack and pinion; #45=10x12 reversible w/ focusing rack and pinion; #46=11x14reversible w/ focusing rack and pinion; #47=14x17reversible w/ focusing rack and pinion; #48=17x20 reversible w/ focusing rack and pinion; #49=4x6 setup for two cartes de visite on one plate; #50=8x10 setup for four cartes de visite on two plates; # 130= stereo camera for 4x7, 4x8 or 5x8.
Notes:

     In their 1871 catalog, the American Optical Co. offered three very closely related models, all having non-tapering bellows (from least expensive to most expensive):

-1.  Number 2 View Camera Boxes, Model No.'s 40-50 & No. 130:  These are described as "good, well made, true and reliable, not so highly finished as the No. 1 goods, and without the patent brass guides.  These had a folding platform, no swing, and no vertical sliding front; no mention of wood types - as simple a camera as would take a photograph.  Because of the number of examples to be illustrated, these are divided into  Number 2 View Camera Boxes (Model No.'s 40-50 & No. 130) Non-Folding Platform and  Number 2 View Camera Boxes (Model No.'s 40-50 & No. 130) Folding Platform.

-2.  View Camera Boxes, Model No.'s 21-28:  These had a folding platform, single or double swing, vertical sliding front, but not the patent brass guides and no mention of wood types.

-3.  Number 1 View Camera Boxes, Model No.'s 1-7 (their best model):   had solid or folding platform, patent (John Stock's patent Aug. 4, 1863) brass guides along the rails of the platform, a fine focusing screw, and made in mahogany or walnut finely finished using the French Polish method.

     Later, American Optical introduced the Improved View Camera Boxes, which had tapering bellows, which allow the camera to be much more compactly folded.    

References:
A Descriptive Catalogue of the American Optical Co.'s Photographic Apparatus (abridged), Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1871, p.2

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