The Blair Companies

Field View Cameras

Blair Tourograph Co., CT (1879-1881)
Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co., Boston, MA (1881-1886)
Blair Camera Co., Boston, MA (1885-1899)
Boston Camera Co. (1888-1890, bought by Blair Camera Co. in 1890)
1890: Blair bought Anthony factories - cameras for both companies made in the same building but different rooms
Blair Div., Eastman Kodak Co., Boston, MA & Rochester, NY (1899-c.1910)

Blair Patents:
#159,536; Feb 9, 1875: endless belt instead of rack & pinion focus
#243,136; Jun 21, 1881: reversible adapter plateholder (original patentee: J. Milton Howe).  This patent was also used by American Optical/Scovill.
#277,787; May 15, 1883 (also used by Scovill): blackboard (to write on) slide for plateholder
#304,406; Sep 2, 1884: spring activated camera back and plateholder with flap and recess
#860,249; Mar 29, 1887: camera contained in a case, like hand & stands (but the Lucidograph was produced earlier)

Scans of number of catalogs can be found here.  Scans of Blair catalogs are here.

It may be noted that Blair, among camera manufacturers, appears to have the largest percentage of cameras having listed variations.  Thomas Blair, or any of his associates, was apparently a consummate tinkerer, constantly changing, and hopefully improving the mechanics of the cameras being produced.  It sometimes seems an axiom that no two Blair cameras were ever made exactly alike.  A corollary seems to be that if you find two or more Blair cameras made exactly alike, they are not made as illustrated or described in the catalog literature (e.g., the Utility Camera).


tnblairbostontouringcat1884.jpg (14036 bytes)  Boston Touring Camera (c. 1884)
Central Swing Back, Improved (c. 1891-1893)
tnblairchamp6x8302b.jpg (7948 bytes)tnblairchamp6x8302b.jpg (7948 bytes) Champion Variation 1 (c.1884 - c.1893)
tnblairchamp6x8302b.jpg (7948 bytes)tnblairchamp6x8302b.jpg (7948 bytes) Champion Variation 2 (c.1884 - c.1893)
Champion, RB, Improved (c. 1889-1894)
tnblair1888rb6x8f337.jpg (15980 bytes)tnblair1888rb6x8f337.jpg (15980 bytes) Cincinnati RB (c. 1888)
 Cincinnati RB, Improved, Variation 1 (c. 1890-1895)
Cincinnati RB, Improved, Variation 2 (c. 1895-1900)
Cincinnati RB, Improved, Variation 3 (c. 1895-1900)
tnblaircomb4x5283b.jpg (7261 bytes)tnblaircomb4x5283b.jpg (7261 bytes) Combination, Variation 1 (c. 1882-1883)
Combination, Variation 2 (c. 1883-1894)
tnblaircombinationrbvar1-11x14f705.jpgtnblaircombinationrbvar1-11x14f705.jpg Combination, RB, Variation 1 (c. 1884)
Combination, RB, Variation 2 (c. 1884)
Combination, RB, Variation 2.5 (c. 1884)
Combination, RB, Variation 3 (c. 1884-1886)
tnblairenglishcompactrb8x10b147.jpg (16925 bytes)tnblairenglishcompactrb8x10b147.jpg (16925 bytes) English Compact RB (c. 1888-1898)
Knockdown Camera (c. 1883)
Lucidograph (c. 1884-1894)
Patent Extension (c. 1884-1898)
Perfect Reversible Back Camera (c. 1887)

Reversible Back Camera (c. 1889-c.1895)
Reversible Back, Improved, Variation 1 (c. 1887 - c. 1895)
tnblrbimp8x10c.jpg (7604 bytes) Reversible Back, Improved Variation 2 (c. 1887 - c. 1895)
Reversible Back, Improved, Variation 3 (c. 1895)
tnblairreversibleback6x8a221.jpg (16142 bytes)tnblairreversibleback6x8a221.jpg (16142 bytes) Reversible Back, Improved, Variation 4 (c. 1895 - c. 1898)
Roller-Blind Shutter (c. 1890)
Standard Camera (c. 1884)
tnbltourcat.jpg (4451 bytes) The Tourograph (1878-c. 1883)
Tremont Outfit (c. 1893)
tnblairtriumph.jpg (12352 bytes) Triumph Camera (c. 1883-1884)

Single Swing

Double Swing
Unknown View #3 (Rear Focus) (c. 1890)
Utility Camera Variation 1 (c. 1884)
Utility Camera  Variation 2 (c. 1890)