A few years ago, the old wood and brass email group had a
discussion about the following camera that got $ 1,500 on ebay...
Matthew Isenburg wrote this thoughtful response:
"Concerning the interesting camera on Ebay # 330187433552
which started some healthy discussion. It is obviously of American
manufacture. Of course the lens though Parisian in origin was imported by
Benjamin French of Boston. The dovetailing is sawcut style as opposed to hand
crafted joinery. This construction is mostly 1880s though some sawcut
dovetailing did occur earlier. Even the brass hardware was available in the
1870s, but I believe this is a camera of the 80s. Most wet plate cameras of that
era had a drip rail behind the slot where the plate goes allowing the
photographer to wipe away the drippings with a rag. This camera does not have
one, nor does it look like there ever was one. More germane, after looking at
the jpgs of the camera very carefully obviously the camera was used enough to
show signs of wear. Yet if it was used for wet-plate use, there would have been
some staining on the rear bottom platform where the two wooden pins held in the
plateholder. Looking closely, there were no stains of any kind on the bed of the
holder, in fact no stains on any of the operating rear section. (jpg 6025).
Items that make the camera desirable are the square bellows which wound down in
American production in the 1880s. I think the size being 4X5 is a very desirable
size. There is no question in my mind, it is American early dry plate camera in
a very sought after size. In summary, if it was American wet plate and small in
format, even with that transitional lens, the price would have reached over
twice the $1538.15 that it did
bring. Matthew R.
I picked up the same exact camera (and lens) about a year ago
for $ 700 and it has been in storage since I received it from the
seller... I refuse to get it before I can identify it.... twisted, but
that's my OCD...
The only piece I can identify with any certainty is the long
brass tab to latch the GG frame to the rear frame is identical to the tab
found on the Samuel Peck field camera lineage...
I dont think its a Peck, but has Peck and AOC influences
via Scovill...... Its clearly a production camera, and while
not cheaply made, it is not refined.....a bit clunky, a bit heavy, and "old
school" with the sideways opening of the GG frame..... Anyone have a clue
what I have ? I disagree that this camera is from the 1880's even w/o a
drip tray...I know I am splitting hairs, but after years of researching
catalogues and advertisements, I think this is a few years
earlier.. So much of 1881, and later, is catalogued in good detail, that I have
a hard time believing this camera would go unidentified if that
late...additionally, by the early 1880's, the side opening gg frame
was pretty much gone from all field cameras (at least from the main
players)..... I also need to measure for the exact size of the camera...it
was listed as 4x5, but AOC lists a 4.25x5.5 for one of their line of field
cameras in their much earlier 1871 catalog...
My camera, as the camera above, has no drip tray,
however, there is some staining on my camera as I recall...
another feature to check out is that there is no center rail in the rear bottom
section of the camera...I cant tell if the rail is missing or that brass tab
(arrowed right) somehow is supposed to sit/fit into the notch (arrowed left) or
perhaps that tab and notch act as a stop for the camera not to overextend
the bellows and there is no rail?
Thoughts on what I have ?