Scovill Mfg. Co.

Albion Variation 2

6.5 x 8.5


Manufacturer: American Optical Co. New York, NY factory
Date Introduced:
- ; Years Manufactured: c.1897
Construction: telescoping bed focus via rack and pinion (gear tracks hidden); single front and double back swing; reversing by removable back
Materials: mahogany body; mahogany bed; black fabric bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: #550=4x6; #551=5x7; #552=5x8; #553=6x8; #554=8x10
The Albion is
an English Compact style of camera - hence the name Albion, from the oldest (and Greek) name for the island of England.  English Compact refers to the clamshell-like way the camera folds up, which was a design made by a large number of manufacturers in the United Kingdom.  The Albion Variation 1 even has English-style plate holders, the insertion of which could be described as slide and interlock, common for cameras manufactured in the United Kingdom, but rare in the US.

It is a high end camera for Scovill - normally, one would expect such a French-polished, decorated brass model to have been made by the American Optical Co., Scovill's high-end camera factory. 

Albion Variation 2 has full length brass hardware on the side of the base.  Inasmuch as the above camera is marked Scovill Mfg. Co. and one of the Variation 2 cameras is marked Scovill & Adams Co. (the successor to Scovill Mfg. Co.), Variation 2 may represent a later version than Variation 1.  In the 1886 Queen catalog reference, a 4x5" size is offered without lens on pages 84-85, and with a lens for bicycle use on page 77 as The Wheelman's Perfection Photographic Outfit.  Introduced: not in the April 1887 catalog, but in the Sep. 1888 catalog

Albion Variation 3 domesticates the model for American use.  The back is now a spring back for American plate holders, and the built-in tripod head has been replaced by a tripod screw hole of standard size and thread pitch.

American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1898, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1897, ads p. 115 ("Bargain Page") but no engraving to be sure that this refers to Variation 3


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