Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago, IL
Seroco View Camera,
Sears Roebuck and Co. Catalog, Fall 1909, p.
8 x 10
Celluloid Label on Front of Camera
Date Introduced: - ; Years
Manufactured: prior to c.1907
Construction: front and rear
focus via rack and pinion (two gear tracks on top of
base rails); double swing; reversing
by removable back; three-piece lens board
Materials: mahogany body, cherry base, brass
or nickel-plated brasshardware,
red leather or black Keratol (leatherette) bellows
Sizes Offered: 5x7; 6½x8½, 8x10
Prior to about 1909, Sears, Roebuck & Co. 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.).
In 1907, both the Rochester Optical & Camera
Co. and Century Camera Co. were purchased by Eastman Kodak Co.
This may have had something to do with Sears eventually contracting with the
Conley Camera Co., an association that resulted in Sears' purchase of Conley in 1924.
The Seroco View Variation 1 is
essentially a Century Victor, but
with front as well as rear focus. It can be found advertised in the Sears
general catalog of 1909. The back hardware is identical to
Century, as well as the little knob for front rise. Other Centurys have
front and back focus, but not the front rise knob. Sears is primarily a
re-seller of goods, so must have contracted with Century to produce the camera.
It would make sense that the Conley-manufactured view
cameras that Sears sold in the 1910's and later would have post-dated the
Century-manufactured Seroco View Variation 1. Yet, the
Seroco View Variation 2 (identical to the
Conley View No. 1) is found advertised in the
1908 Sears camera-specialty flyer.
This apparently means that Sears sold a Conley view cameras in 1908, a Century
view cameras in 1909 and went back to Conley view cameras for 1910 and
following, or both style view cameras in 1909.
Despite the apparent Century-made camera appearing in the
reprinted 1908 Sears general catalog, only Conley products appear in the Sears
photographic-only specialty catalogs of
c.1908, c.1909 and
Consumer's Guide, Sears Roebuck and Co., Fall 1909, p.
331 (1979 reprint).
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