Rochester Optical Co.

The Ideal Camera, Variation 1

C.H. Codman Catalog, 1886, p. 4

Ideal Variation 1 4 x 5 c.1886; it has its original tilt-down back as well as a new-fangled spring back; the tilt-down back is the one that accepts the Eastman-Walker Roll Film Holder





Ideal Variation 1 5 x 8 c.1885 (forward facing front standard hardware)



Ideal Variation 1 5 x 8 c.1890 (backward facing front standard hardware)




Metal label on front standard

Unmarked rapid rectilinear type lens in 1888 model B&L iris diaphragm shutter marked: "Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Rochester, New York 435 Pat. May 15, '88"

 


Date Introduced: ~1885; Years Manufactured: 1885-1891
Construction: front focus via rack and pinion (two gear tracks on top of base rails); single or double swing; three-piece lensboard; reversing by removable back
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; nickeled brass hardware
Sizes Offered:3x4; 4x5; 4x6; 5x7; 5x8; 6-8; 8x10; 11x14; 14x17; 17x20; 18x22; 20x24
Notes: The catalogs state that 14x17 and larger were back focus and had no rack and pinion gears, which would essentially be a style later introduced by the Rochester Camera Mfg. Co as The Favorite. The camera came with a canvas case and one plate-holder.  The Ideal was the top of the line camera of this style, while the almost identical Empire State Camera was more moderately priced.  The Ideal Variation 1 has an s-shaped tilt mechanism (as well as a hinged ground glass frame and four cam-buttons, two of which release the ground glass frame, and two of which release the entire removable back).  The Ideal Variation 2 has a two types of tilt mechanism: a center pivot (as above) or a plate-type bottom pivot (as well as a spring-loaded ground glass frame and no cam-buttons).  There is another variation shown here which was not assigned a number: Apparently, the earliest Ideals have a forward-facing foot on the front standard supports, while later Ideals have a backwards-facing foot in the same spot.  This change resulted in a camera whose folded footprint is at least 1" narrower (the actual amount depends on the plate size).  Examples of both types are shown above.

References:
American Journal of. Photography, March 1885, p. 9
Catalog P, Photographic Material, J. W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1886, p. 56
Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co. (Rochester, NY), distributed by C. H. Codman (Boston, MA), 1886, p. 4-6
Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus, Rochester Optical Co. (Rochester, NY), June 1890, p. 4-5 (one engraving is Variation 1 while a second engraving is Variation 2)
Photographic Material, Catalogue O & P, James W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1891, p. 44

6 x 8 c. 1885




 

Back to Rochester Optical Co.