Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co.
Combination Camera, Reversible Back, Variation 2
Date Introduced: - ; Years
Construction: front focus via
rack and pinion (two gear tracks on top of base rails); single or double
swing; reverse by removable back; three-piece lens board
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows;
Sizes Offered: 4¼x5½; 5x7; 5x8/6½x8½;
Notes: two section base; front section removes for storage.
This camera is rather bulky, even when broken down,
due to the relatively long length of the base.
Apparently, the combination part of the name refers to the ability to
place more than one back on the camera, as above. The reversible part of the name comes from the ability to switch from
horizontal to vertical format by removing and repositioning the back. The ordinary
Combination Camera also reverses, but only by taking the camera off
the tripod and re-attaching it by its second tripod mount.
The Combination Camera,
Variation 1 has a peculiar giant front standard extension,
while Variations 2 and 3 have
a normal front standard. The
Combination Camera, Reversible Back, Variation 2 has metal
reinforcement of the front standard while Variation 3 has a similarly shaped,
all-wood version (the same variation in front standard can be seen in the
Champion). Variation 3 also sports wing-shaped
bottom brackets for retaining the back and a dual right-side thumbscrew.
Since Variation 3 is known from the 1886 reference, Variation 2 may be the
earlier of the two. The photographs above show an 8x0 camera with a second 5x8
International Annual of Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, Vol. I, 1888, W. J.
Harrison and A. H. Elliot, eds., E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. (New York, NY), July
1888, ads, p. 11 (in an engraving within an advertisement for L. M. Prince -
appears to be a Reversible Back Combination Camera, Var. 2 or Var. 3.
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