Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Co., Boston, MA


Combination Camera, Reversible Back, Variation 2.5


5 x 8"

6½ x 8½"

Label, metal, top of platform/bed: "Blair Tourograph & D.P. Co., Boston"


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
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; nickeled hardware
Sizes Offered: 4¼x5½; 5x7; 5x8/6½x8½; 6½x8½/8x10; 8x10/10x12
Notes: two section base; front section removes for storage.   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, Reversible Back, Variation 1 has a peculiar giant front standard extension, while Variations 2 and 3 have a normal front standard.  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.  Variation 2.5 has some features of Variation 2 (e.g., the metal reinforcement on the front), but also unique features, such as the open top front standard, and a three piece bed (including one hinged piece), which is a marked improvement over the two piece bed that is largely useless until the two pieces are reunited.

There are small difference between the above two examples, the most obvious of which is that on the verticals of the front standard (that end in mid-air), the wood is rounded to the contour of the hardware in the top example, whereas the wood is merely cut off square in the bottom example.




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