Rochester Optical Co.

Empire State Camera, Variation 2

Below, Rochester Optical Co. Catalog, June 1898, p. 10

5 x 8 double swing
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11x14" plate size: non-stereoscopic bellows and front standard
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11x14" plate size: side swing hardware instead of top swing hardware
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Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured: c.1896 - c.1902;
Construction: front focus via two gear tracks on top of base rails; double swing from a center pivot; rising front via thumbscrews on both sides of the front standard; reversing by removable back; base rigidity via a lever inside the base; spring back
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: 5x7; 5x8; 6x8; 8x10; 10x12; 11x14; 14x17; 17x20; 18x22; 20x24
Notes:

     The Empire State is a moderately priced version of the well-made and well-finished Ideal.  The camera above is 5x8, with it's original canvas short-version case (there also was a long version that held six plateholders). Variation 1 had a squarer-appearing swing hardware than that illustrated above, and a thumbscrew to make the bed rigid instead of a lever. Variation 3 is a precursor to the Improved Empire State.

     The above camera example is double swing as illustrated in the engraving (swing is via two knobs underneath the back standard; they bear against inlet brass plates).  The single swing version (shown below) utilizes the same base and back wooden parts, but the sideward swinging hardware is omitted, and the back is glued and screwed to the base, rather than pinned by a single central screw. 

     For the sizes 5x8, 6x8 and 8x10, the lens board is a broad rectangle, to allow for the mounting of two lenses for stereoscopic photos.  For the sizes 11x14 and presumably larger, for which the ability to take stereo pairs is not an goal, the lens board is square, and front standard and bellows are correspondingly narrower (see above).  Also in the large sizes, the swing hardware, normally on top of the back standard (see above), instead appears on both sides - the top of such a large camera might not be reachable in use.

References:
Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co. (Rochester, NY), May 1896, p. 12-13
Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co. (Rochester, NY), May 1897, p. 12-13
Dept. 5: Photographic Lenses, Supplies, etc. 2nd ed.; Andrew J. Lloyd & Co. (Boston, MA) catalog, 1897, p. 45
Hand Cameras, Kodaks and Supplies,
R. Dempster Co. (Omaha, NE), 1897, p. 40
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1898, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), ads p. 50
Illustrated Price List of Photographic Goods, George Murphy (New York, NY), April 1898, p. 22
Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co. (Rochester, NY), from Horgan, Robey & Co. (Boston, MA), June 1898, p. 10-11
Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co., 1899, pp. 12-13
Illustrated Catalogue No. 18,
L.M. Prince & Bros. (Cincinnati, OH), c. 1899, p. 34
Photographic Apparatus,
Rochester Optical & Camera Co. (Rochester, NY), 1901, pp. 14-15
Photographic Encyclopedia, Andrew J. Lloyd & Co. (Boston, MA), 1901, p. 105
Catalogue No. IIII of Professional and Amateur Photographer's Supplies, Wm. F. Uhlman (St. Joseph, MO), c.1901, p. 39
Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Chicago, IL) Catalog, 1902, p. 142

5 x 7 single swing
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6 x 8 single swing
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