Rochester Optical Co.
Empire State Camera, Improved
Sweet, Wallach & Co. (Chicago, IL) Catalog, 1908, p. 54
5 x 7
6½ x 8½
8 x 10
Date Introduced: ~1902 but still called the Empire State-
; Years Manufactured: 1902-1909+
Construction: front and back focus,
both via two gear tracks on top of base rails; double swing; three-piece
lens board; reversing by removable back
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black
leatherette bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: 5x7; 5x8; 6½x8½; 8x10; 10x12;
The two cameras above, both have labels identifying them
as Improved Empire State. They have minor differences, the most
distinctive of which is the front standard rise/fall thumbscrew, which
apparently may be located interior to the front standard (on the 6½x8½
example) or behind the front standard (on the 8x10 example, identical to the
1908 Sweet, Wallach & Co. engraving).
This is the same situation as with the
Empire State Variation 3, which shows both the above variations, but
identified by labels that read Empire State.
To confuse the issue even more, a
Sweet, Wallach & Co.
amateur catalog, c.1908 p.43 uses both the names Empire State No. 2
and Improved Empire State to refer to a camera that its engraving reveals
to be the Empire State No. 2. The same company, in the professional
catalog reference below p.54 uses an engraving of the
Empire State No. 1 to illustrate what they
call the Empire State Improved. In Premo Cameras catalogs, the
Empire State No. 2 was stated to be an improved model of the Empire State
(Variation 3), and one of the improvements was a quick-connect way to make
the bed rigid, which the above camera does not have.
Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic
Outfits and Supplies, Sweet, Wallach & Co. (Chicago, IL) Catalog, 1908, p. 54
Photographic Supplies, 15th
Edition, New York Camera Exchange (New
York City, NY), c.1908, p. 2
Catalogue Photo Supplies,
Milwaukee Photo Materials Co. (Milwaukee, WI), c.1910.
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