Rochester Optical Co.
Empire State Camera, Variation 2
5 x 8 double swing
11x14" plate size: non-stereoscopic
bellows and front standard
11x14" plate size: side swing hardware
instead of top swing hardware
Date Introduced: - ; Years Manufactured:
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, 6½x8½ 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.
5 x 7 single swing
6½ x 8½ single swing
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