Sears & Roebuck & Co.

Perfection Viewing Outfit
 

Jas H. Smith Catalog, 1901, p. 17
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Sears and Roebuck Catalog, 1902, p. 141
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Anthony & Scovill Champion Variaion 4 (with Anthony & Scovill label)
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5 x 7 Rochester Special (with Rochester Opt. Co. label)
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Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c. 1901-1902
Construction: back focus via push-pull; single swing; three-piece lens board; reversing by removable back
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; nickeled hardware
Sizes Offered: 5x7
Notes:

     The Perfection Viewing Outfit is one of a number of cameras offered by various manufacturers that are nearly identical:

1) a camera advertised as Jas. H. Smith's Universal View and Portrait Camera

2) a camera, along with a rather too-large studio tripod (remember, this is a small 5x7 camera) that was marketed on p. 18 of the Jas. H. Smith 1901 catalog as the Globe Home Portrait Outfit

3) the Complete Perfection Viewing Outfit, advertised in the 1902 Sears Catalog, even down to the Sears, Roebuck Monarch lens (top engraving).  Prior to the 1907 switch to Conley, Sears contracted with various manufacturers, including the Rochester Optical group of companies and the Century Camera Co The Sears cameras of this era, whatever the manufacturer, bore the brand name Seroco (ever so cutely derived from the first letters of Sears, Roebuck & Co.).  The Sears engraving, like the Smith, does not show the wooden piece that holds the Rochester celluloid tag.

4) the Anthony & Scovill Champion Variation 3.

5) the Anthony & Scovill NPA Variation 4.

6) the Rochester Optical Co. Special.

     The only differences between the labeled Rochester Optical camera and the three nearly identical cameras is in the shape or omission of the horizontal non-structural wooden trim between the verticals of the front standard, or, in the case of the NPA, the wood finish.

     Since it is almost identical (except for finish) to the Anthony & Scovill NPA Variation 4, it is assumed that the camera was actually assembled at the Anthony & Scovill factory, and the other labels or advertised nearly identical cameras were as result of other companies purchasing the Champion Variation 3 for re-sale.

    

References:
Catalogue of Photographic Sundries, Jas. H. Smith (Chicago, IL), 1901, p. 17 (as the Universal View and Portrait Camera)
Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Chicago, IL) Catalog, 1902, p. 141 (as Perfection Viewing Outfit)

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