E. & H.T. Anthony
View and Portrait Boxes (#20-27)
Climax Compact Camera
Illustrated Catalog of Photographic Materials,
Thomas H. McCollin & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1897, p. 38
Label on the front standard
Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c. 1872 -
Construction: rear push-pull
focus with fine focus lever; double swing, front rise
Materials: mahogany body; cherry
base; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: #21=6½x8½;
#22=8x10; #23=10x12; #24=11x14;
The wet-plate-era View
and Portrait Box
features a focus screw, folding bed, sliding front, brass rail
guide. It looks as if it is a fairly standard portrait studio camera of the era
that has been precariously balanced on a folding bed - thus the name
It has a typical feature of wet plate cameras that almost
never occurs in dry plate amateur cameras - that is, its ground glass is square
(10x10") and the back must be completely removed to fit the plate holder in its
place. A change of horizontal format to vertical format is performed
within the plate holder by rearranging wood guides.
A dry-plate-era camera of
essentially the same design was called the Climax
View Camera - the two share the same model
numbers and sizes. But the many extant
Anthony amateur catalogs from the 1880's and early
1890's do not list the View and Portrait Box or the
Climax View Camera;
they may have been considered only of use to professionals,
and only listed in professional catalogs.
A 20x24 version of this camera was sold on eBay in 2008.
It would have been a special order, since that size is not in the catalog.
The above example was probably
well used, like many professional-type cameras, and there have been a number of
alterations to it that should not be used to identify other examples of the
View and Portrait Box:
1) it has lost its back. This is a common occurrence for cameras where
removing the back is a daily event. The back
currently on it is a recent reproduction based on another
Anthony 8x10 back of the same era.
2) the Anthony clips to hold the top of the back
were originally spring-loaded mechanisms that were inlet into
the wood. But they have been replaced
by functional but simpler Scovill clips, and
the holes in the wood were expertly filled in. This
probably also happened over 100 years ago. This may have accommodated a
Scovill plate holder.
3) the camera has been refinished, logically done when the holes of the Anthony
clips were filled in. This would have removed any dark traces of wet plate
4) the lens board is a recent replacement, the camera having lost its original
Anthony lens board.
The lens on the above example is
engraved: "Platyscope C". The Platyscope was the name of a rapid
rectilinear-type of lens sold by Anthony in their many amateur camera catalogs.
Illustrated Descriptive Price List of Photographic
Apparatus, E.& H.T. Anthony & Co. (New York, NY), 1872, p.
14 (as View and Portrait Boxes)
Descriptive catalogue and price list of the
photographic apparatus manufactured by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co.,
E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. (New York, NY), distributed by J. Haworth
(New York, NY), February
1884, p. 32 (as Compact Climax Camera)
Illustrated Catalog of Photographic Materials, Thomas
H. McCollin & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1897, p. 38 (as Climax View Camera)
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