American Optical Co., Scovill Mfg. Co., props.

Mignon Bicycle Camera

 

Manufacturer: American Optical Co. New York, NY factory
Date Introduced:
- ; Years Manufactured: c.1885-1894
Construction: front focus via rack and pinion (gear tracks on top of base rails); single swing; non-reversing;  shifting lens board
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: 3x4
Notes:

There are four models of view camera ever manufactured (other than the Midget Pocket, a combination view and box camera not included on this list of four) by American Optical, Scovill or Scovill & Adams.  All described as a bicycle camera or suitable for bicycling, except the Petite, which is for Vassar pupils (women), they were (in order of increasing price):
--the Ne Plus Ultra Bicyclist's Camera/Outfit (Outfit: camera, Waterbury lens, plate holder, bicycle attachment, canvas bag = $10.00),
--the Scovill's Pocket Bicycle Camera/Outfit (Outfit: camera,  with S.M.C. focusing lens, plate holder, bicycle attachment, = $12.00; apparently the canvas bag is not included in this outfit)
--the Petite Camera/Outfit ($12 camera & plate holder w/o lens, $17 same with tripod and canvas bag) and
--the Mignon Camera/Outfit (Outfit: camera, plate holder, bicycle attachment, canvas bag = $25.00 w/o lens; $50.00 with; $70.00 with Morrison lens)

Unfortunately, Scovill never saw fit to picture the Ne Plus Ultra Bicyclist's Camera/Outfit or the Mignon Camera. The Petite has a large engraving that can be matched to a camera.  Likewise, the Pocket Bicycle Camera, despite a very small engraving on top of a large wheel bicycle, can also be matched.  The identity of the Ne Plus Ultra Bicycle Camera and the Mignon Camera are based on price, assuming that the better made camera would be the expensive Mignon.

The Mignon is a high-end small camera, "consisting of a finely polished mahogany camera, with swing back, vertical shifting front, hinged ground glass back, folding bed, with patent latch,  rack and pinion movement (front focus)."  Without the universal joint bicycle attachment, it is also part of the No. 3 1888  Instantaneous Outfit.  It is thought that the Mignon Camera is probably similar quality to the Petite Camera, but front focus instead of rear focus.

 

References:
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 1, The Photographic Amateur, 2nd Edition, J. Traill Taylor, Scovill Mfg. Co. pub. (New York, NY), 1883, 2nd Ed. about 1885, p. a17
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Andrew J. Smith (Providence, RI), 1886, p. 41
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 12, Photographic Chemistry, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1886, p. a25
Scovill's Photo. Series No. 20, Dry Plate Making for Amateurs, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), 1886, p. a17
How to Make Pictures, 4th edition, Henry Clay Price, Scovill Mfg. Co., publishers (New York, NY), dated 1887, copyright 1886, p.a16
Photographic Lenses and How to Select Them, James W. Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, PA), 1887, p. 27
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), undated but about January 1888, p 44
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, Scovill Mfg. Co. (New York, NY), distributed by C.H. Codman & Co. (Boston, MA), September 1888, p. 36
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), January 1889, p. 34
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Oscar Foss (San Francisco, CA), June 1890, p. 46
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Sargent & Co. (Cleveland, OH), April 1891, p. 12
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), distributed by Horgan, Robey & Co. (Boston, MA), June 1891, p. 14
How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List, The Scovill and Adams Co. (New York, NY), January 1892, p. 14
American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1893, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1892, ads p. 86
The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1894, The Scovill & Adams Co. (New York, NY), 1893, p. 125

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