Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co., Boston, MA


Combination Camera, Variation 1 (push-pull focus)


Blair untitled catalog, 1882, p. 8

4 x 5"
blaircomb4x5a283.jpg (39264 bytes)
blaircomb4x5a283.jpg (39264 bytes)
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blaircomb4x5e283.jpg (17096 bytes)
blaircomb4x5e283.jpg (17096 bytes)
blaircomb4x5e283.jpg (17096 bytes)

Label, bottom of front standard

Stamp, top of ground glass back

Stamp on plate holder (same as on the camera ground glass frame)

Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c.1882-1883
Construction: rear focus via push-pull; single swing or double swing (5x8 only); reverse by two tripod mounts; three-piece lens board
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; nickeled hardware
Sizes Offered: 1530=4x5 w/ 5x8 extension; 1531=5x8A w/ 6½x8½ or 8x10 extension; 1532=5x8B w/ 6½x8½ or 8x10 extension

     The Combination part of the name Combination Camera Variation 1 referred to the ability to have two plate sizes in a small package due to the Blair Patent Extension pieces.  One of the several shapes of Blair extensions was designed to fit above the platform of the Combination Camera (illustrated in the engraving above).  The Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co. Catalog, 1884, p. 8 states: "The 5x8(A) is the camera well known as our 'Triumph'".  The A model had a 13" focus capacity; there was a B model having a 14.5" focus capacity.  The same 1884 catalog stated that all Combination Cameras had rack and pinion focusing, even though the above engraving does not and neither does the example camera..  The rack and pinion focus version is referred to here as Combination Camera Variation 2.

     These early plate holders are designed like wooden puzzles, with little interlocking blocks of wood.

     The Combination Camera Variation 1 is advertised in an un-named catalog dated 1882. This example has an applied label on the front that reads: "The Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co., Boston, Mass.", a company that existed 1881-1886. The camera also has a stamp on the top of the ground glass frame that reads: "The Blair Tourograph Co., Boston". The two plate holders have the same stamp. The Blair Tourograph Co. existed from 1879-1881. That this camera has both company names on it suggests that it was made c.1882.

Untitled Catalog, The Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company, Boston, MA, 1882, pp. 8-11
Photographic Times 13, March, 1883, p. V
Catalog P, Photographic Material, J. W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1886, p. 57



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