Simon Wing & Co.
New Gem Camera
/ Ajax Camera
New Gem 5 x 7
a plate purchased with the camera
Date Introduced: ; Years Manufactured: c.
Construction: fixed focus,
no swing, shifting front provides multiple exposures on a single plate
Materials: mahogany body, brass
Sizes Offered: 5x7
Notes: The New Gem Camera
(shown above) is
not really a field camera, being usually used as a dedicated ninth-plate tintype
but it has a normal tripod mount, so could have been used in the field.
The front of this uniquely wing shifting front has
three marked vertical positions and five marked horizontal positions as well as
an interior mask appropriate to produce 15 photos on a 5x7" plate. There
is no ground glass, as the lens is matched to the depth of the box.
Another Wing model, the Ajax, is essentially identical to the New Gem,
except that it was sold with a 1/4 lens (that is a lens designed to cast 4
images on a full plate) instead of the 1/9 lens on the New Gem (Gem is
the nickname for a small photograph). The
New Gem and Ajax boxes apparently are not much different in size,
both approximately 10½" wide x 8½" high x 5" deep, despite the fact that the 1/4
lens has a longer focal length than the 1/9 lens. How? Note that the
above New Gem has a hinged back and inset location for a bare plate (not
in a double plate holder). Its focal plane is sunken about ¾" from the
back surface. The Ajax at
http://www.antiquewoodcameras.com/ajax.html has a focal plane about even
with the back surface.
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