Rochester Optical Co.
Rochester Optical Special
Jas H. Smith Catalog, 1901, p. 17
Sears and Roebuck Catalog, 1902, p. 141
Anthony & Scovill Champion Variaion
4 (with Anthony & Scovill label)
5 x 7 Rochester Special (with Rochester Opt. Co. label)
Date Introduced: - ; Years
Manufactured: c. 1901-1902
Construction: back focus via
push-pull; single swing; three-piece
lens board; reversing by removable back
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows;
Sizes Offered: 5x7
The Rochester Optical Special is
one of a number of cameras offered by various manufacturers that are nearly
1) a camera advertised as
Jas. H. Smith's Universal View and Portrait Camera.
2) a camera, along with a rather
too-large studio tripod (remember, this is a small 5x7 camera)
that was marketed on p. 18 of the Jas. H. Smith 1901
catalog as the Globe Home Portrait Outfit.
Complete Perfection Viewing Outfit, advertised in the 1902 Sears Catalog,
even down to the Sears, Roebuck Monarch lens (top engraving).
Prior to the 1907 switch to Conley, Sears contracted with various manufacturers,
including the Rochester Optical group of companies and the Century Camera Co.
The Sears cameras of this era, whatever the manufacturer, bore the brand
name Seroco (ever so cutely derived from the first letters of Sears,
Roebuck & Co.). The Sears engraving, like the Smith, does not show the
wooden piece that holds the Rochester celluloid tag.
4) the Anthony &
Scovill Champion Variation 3.
Anthony & Scovill NPA Variation 4.
6) the Rochester
Optical Co. Special.
The only differences
between the labeled Rochester Optical camera and the three nearly identical
cameras is in the shape or omission of the horizontal non-structural wooden
trim between the verticals of the front standard, or, in the
case of the NPA, the wood finish.
Since it is almost
identical (except for finish) to the Anthony & Scovill
NPA Variation 4, it is assumed that the
camera was actually assembled at the Anthony & Scovill factory, and the other
labels or advertised nearly identical cameras were as result of other companies
purchasing the Champion Variation 3 for re-sale.
Catalogue of Photographic Sundries, Jas. H. Smith (Chicago, IL), 1901, p. 17 (as the
Universal View and Portrait
Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Chicago, IL) Catalog, 1902, p. 141
(as Perfection Viewing Outfit)
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