Flammang Camera Co.
New York, NY
Panorama / Custom
19 x 36
Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c. 1896
Construction: rear focus
via push-pull; single swing; reversing by
re-positioning bellows; rising front standard
body; cherry base; dark finish;
black rubberized fabric bellows;
Sizes Offered: 19x36
Mathias Flammang, at least his last name, is well known
to those who study field view cameras because the phrase "Flammang's Patent" is
stamped into many an American Optical/Scovill camera bed. There are
actually two patents that merit the stamp, both of which came while he was
employed by the Scovill Mfg. Co. The first, 283,589;
Aug 21, 1883, consists of a plate holder that is mounted on a
circular track on which it can be rotated from horizontal to vertical format
without removing the back. This invention forms the foundation of two
relatively rare American Optical models c.1886, known as
Flammang's Patent Revolving-Back Camera Front
Focus, and Flammang's Patent
Revolving-Back Camera Back Focus. The second, 328,664; Oct
20, 1885, is the the very common rod and cylinder mechanism
that makes the folding bed rigid on almost every American Optical or Scovill
camera made from 1886 though about 1900.
According to an article by Rodger Digilio in the
Graphic Historic Quarterly, Vol. 15, Issue 1, p. 1 Flammang had an agreement
in 1895 with the Folmer & Schwing Co. to make hand cameras (covered in leather
and similar to the Cycle Graphic). Flammang was the superintendent
of the Scovill & Adams factory in Waterbury, CT at the time, and presumably had
an arrangement to contract with the factory or factory workers to make cameras
under the name Flammang Camera Co. He was in default of the agreement with
Folmer & Schwing by summer 1897, not being able to supply sufficient cameras for
them because he had also making cameras for Scovill & Adams, G. Gennert and
other dealers. He probably had to fill the Scovill & Adams orders first,
since he seems to have been using their factory.
Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Vol. XXXIII, No.
476, p. 352; August 1896, has a note from a recent photographic convention in
Celoron (a town in Chatauqua Co., NY) that available was "an illuminated
catalogue (entirely new) of cameras, etc. by the Flammang Camera Co., 180 and
186 West Houston St., New York City."
It is interesting that the above camera does not use the
Flammang patent revolving bellows. If it did, it would have been about
twice as heavy, twice as large, and twice as expensive, since the back would
have had to be 36" square. The bellows release from the front standard of
this camera by pushing the front end upwards against a leaf spring hidden in the
slot, which frees the bottom of the bellows first. This same "up and out"
method was also used by Century Camera Co. lens boards.
Judging from those still in existence, cameras having a
Flammang Camera Co. label are not common. The catalog would seen to have
been printed up, and most of the capacity used to try to keep up with contracts
rather than making Flammang models.
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1898,
The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1897, ads p.
94 (mention of view cameras only, not specific model -
advertisement is shown below)
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times
Almanac for 1898, ads p. 94
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