Blair Camera Co.
Reversible Back Improved
Blair-Foss catalog, 1890, p. 3
6½x8½, nickel-plated hardware
Date Introduced: - ; Years
Manufactured: c.1887 -
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 or brass hardware
Sizes Offered: 1500=4x5; 1501=4¼x5½; 1502=5x7; 1503=5x8;
The Blair Reversible Back, Improved has been divided into
The Reversible Back Improved Variation 1
(c.1893 - c.1898) has a simple, un-braced base design and its rear swing pivots
from the center. Variation 1 was assigned before the catalog record
was found that dated it later than Variation 2; now the variation numbers
are out of order.
The Reversible Back Improved Variation 2
(c.1887 - c.1893) has the braced middle base, and its rear swing pivots from the
bottom. The Blair 1893 catalog states that the Reversible
Back Camera and the Champion Reversible Back Camera are superceded in design.
Thus, 1893 must mark the transition from Variation 2 to Variation 1.
The Reversible Back Improved Variation 3
(c.1887-c.1893) is the same as Variation 2, but with different
hardware. It has not been found yet in a Blair catalog, but, having the
same base as Variation 2, it probably was made about the same time as
The base of this model (Variation 2) is in
three sections, the front is
the middle is hinged. Cases
for it came in two sizes
- a long one could store more plate holders. Trim could be made to order. The Blair 1895 catalog states that the
Back Camera, the Combination Camera, and the
Champion Reversible Back Camera are superceded in design.
Photographic Lenses and How to Select Them, James W. Queen & Co.
(Philadelphia, PA), 1887, back cover
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 22, Photographic Printing Methods, Rev. W. H.
Burbank, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1887, ads page 19 (engraving in an advertisement
for L. M. Prince & Bro. (Cincinnati, OH))
Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1888, C.W.
Canfield, ed.; Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), copyright 1887, ads p. 25
(engraving in an advertisement for L. M. Prince & Bro. (Cincinnati, OH))
Illustrated Catalogue and Price List of Photographic Apparatus and Supplies,
Section A, Blair Camera Co. (Boston, MA), distributed by Oscar Foss (San Francisco,
CA), 1890, pp. 3-5
Anthony's Photographic Bulletin XXV No. 5, May 1 1894, p. xi
6½x8½, brass hardware
yet another 6½x8½, nickel-plated hardware
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