Scovill Mfg. Co.; distributed by F. Putnam Co.
Practical Instructions for Amateurs, 1885, p. 2
4 x 5 vertical
5 x 8
Scovill Mfg. Co., New Haven, CT factory
Putnam Marvels are not rare cameras. They appear to have been made by Scovill Mfg. Co. At least one has Putnam Marvel stamped over the usual Scovill Mfg. Co. stamp. Most examples seem to be versions of the Scovill Favorite model. Some, like those above, are similar to the Scovill Waterbury Variation 1, but made in what appears to be basswood instead of the sycamore that is usual for the Waterbury. The above engraving was used both in Marvel Literature and for the Scovill Favorite, but then other engravings in the above Marvel Circular appear to be appropriated from Scovill's Ne Plus Ultra and American Optical's 76 Models.
The 5x8" example above was originally stamped with the usual "Scovill Mfg. Co." on the right rear of the base. This stamp was over-stamped with "Marvel". "F. Putnam New York" is stamped on the left rear of the base. Another Scovill stamp appears on the lens board. The case is typical Scovill construction (splines at the corners, and it comes with a Scovill Waterbury lens. It does not have the 1885 patent sliding devices to make the bed rigid, instead relying on a simple removable thumbscrew, so it may have been made prior to 1885, or may have been made cheaper that way. The brass Waterbury lens has insertable stops, shown removed in photo 1. The removable ground rather than hinged glass is painted black Marvels.
A 5x8" camera marked F. Putnam New York and
Marvel serial no. 326 was sold on eBay that was identical to the Scovill
Waterbury Variation 1, including the hinged ground glass
and rounded front molding. Apparently Putnam bought various models from
Scovill to be sold as Marvel.
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