Blair Camera Co.


Combination Camera, Reversible Back, Variation 1



Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c. 1884
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; two bellows system, one for front swing.
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; nickeled hardware
Sizes Offered: 4¼x5½; 5x7; 5x8/6½x8½; 6½x8½/8x10; 8x10/10x12; 11x14 (not advertised, but exists - photographs above - could be a special order)

     This model has a two section base where the front section, essential for use, hinges upwards for storage.   The camera is rather bulky, even when broken down.  The back could be removed and replaced by a larger one - hence the name combination.   The reversible part of the name comes from the ability to switch from horizontal to vertical format by removing and repositioning the square-shaped back.  The Combination Camera (no "Reversible Back" in the name) also can be reversed, but only by taking the camera off the tripod and re-attaching it by its second tripod mount. 

     The Combination Camera, Reversible Back, Variation 1 has a peculiar and unique giant front standard extension, while Variation 2 and Variation 3 have a normal front standard.  In the example above, the ground glass frame is a generic replacement, as the original was missing.  Also, the front extension, manufactured to extend straight outwards on folding wooden struts (as in the third engraving, above), has lost the wooden struts (probably broken), and has been altered to swing downwards, possibly for banquet work, since it is now similar to the Folmer & Schwing Banquet Camera.
Century Magazine, 1883
Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co. Catalog, 1884, pp. 3-6 (called New Reversible Blair Combination Camera)



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