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Re: Kamrex camera.

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  • Ralph & Bobbi London
    I sold my Lancaster Kamrex Deluxe in early 2008 for US$300. Here s what I can reconstruct about it: 1/4 plate, red bellows, 1/4 plate Rectigraph lens by
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 14, 2009
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      I sold my Lancaster Kamrex Deluxe in early 2008 for US$300.  Here's what I can reconstruct about it: 1/4 plate, red bellows, 1/4 plate Rectigraph lens by Lancaster, 1 plate holder hinged.

      On Jul 14, 2009, at 4:07 AM, eric evans wrote:

      So, the Kamrex camera is in my hands as I write (figuratively speaking, cos I can't type one-handed). It is a quarter plate, with cross and rising front movements, and labelled "Kamrex Patent", black leather covered, polished mahogany interiored, and has the J.Lancaster "Shield" label prominently on it, a lens marked "J.Lancaster Birmingham 1/4 pl Rectigraph" with apertures (get this), F60, 40, 30, 20, in a brass Rauber & Wollensak Pneumatic shutter with speeds 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, B, T. Anything known about Rauber & Wollensak Opt. Co., Rochester, NY, USA? I'm not good on Americana. And what could have been the relationship?

      From Rudolf Kingslake, "The Photographic Manufacturing Companies of Rochester, New York," 1997, p. 47: 

      "in 1899 the Wollensak brothers [Andrew and John C.] decided to establish Rauber and Wollensak, a company that made camera shutters in direct competition with Bausch & Lomb and Eastman Kodak Company.  They were assisted financially by Stephen Rauber, formerly president of the defunct Union Brewing Company.  Rauber was not really interested in technical matters, and in 1902 he left to become a coal merchant.  At that time the Wollensaks changed the name of their company from Rauber and Wollensak to Wollensak Optical Company."

      The Kamrex camera is not mentioned at all in Channing & Dunn, and the one in McKeown is alleged to have a polished mahogany body and red bellows, so I guess that would be the "Tropical" version and mine is bog-standard, but for 45 quid, I'm happy as Larry. 
      McK. says it is more common in the 1/2 plate size, and suggests a price rather higher than twice what I paid, but again, that would be for the tropical.

      McKeown, 12th edition, list the Kamrex as simply mahogany.  I don't recall my Kamrex being tropical, especially since I do not collect tropical cameras.  My selling price is consistent with McKeown's price of $200-300.

      Ralph

    • Ralph & Bobbi London
      ... This book by Thomas is often inaccurate. People were invited to submit pictures and information about their cameras. What Thomas received he presumably
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 14, 2009
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        On Jul 14, 2009, at 11:21 AM, David Purcell wrote:

        I am still looking through some books for information, but so far the closest I have come is a reference in the Thomas International Photo Directory of Antique Cameras, which lists two other folding plate cameras with names beginning with "K", namely the Kamret Folding Plate Camera and the Kamarex Hand & Stand (note the extra "A").

        This book by Thomas is often inaccurate.  People were invited to submit pictures and information about their cameras.  What Thomas received he presumably generally printed.  The result is not surprising.

        Ralph
      • Ralph & Bobbi London
        I just noticed in the Thomas book that Kamrex is twice correct in the index: under Kamrex (see Lancaster) and under Lancaster/Kamrex. In the body (p.139) it
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 14, 2009
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          I just noticed in the Thomas book that Kamrex is twice correct in the index: under Kamrex (see Lancaster) and under Lancaster/Kamrex.  In the body (p.139) it is Kamarex and appears after Kamret.  If he really meant Kamaret, it would appear alphabetically before Kamret.  I conclude the extra A in the body is simply a typo.

          Ralph

          On Jul 14, 2009, at 3:10 PM, Ralph & Bobbi London wrote:

          On Jul 14, 2009, at 11:21 AM, David Purcell wrote:

          I am still looking through some books for information, but so far the closest I have come is a reference in the Thomas International Photo Directory of Antique Cameras, which lists two other folding plate cameras with names beginning with "K", namely the Kamret Folding Plate Camera and the Kamarex Hand & Stand (note the extra "A").

          This book by Thomas is often inaccurate.  People were invited to submit pictures and information about their cameras.  What Thomas received he presumably generally printed.  The result is not surprising.

        • eric evans
          Ralph, Thankyou for the valuable information. It seems to me that I have fallen into a sloppy habit that has grown among English collectors lately, of
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 15, 2009
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            Ralph,
            Thankyou for the valuable information. It seems to me that I have fallen into a sloppy habit that has grown among English collectors lately, of referring to a polished version as "Tropical" when a leather version of the same camera exists; of course, that was not necessarily its original designation. Clearly, the one outlined in McKeown is a different version from the one I have, and you are right, it doesn't have to be Tropical.
            The Rauber and Wollensak information you give, somewhat authenticates my dating of the camera to 1900; at least it must be between their foundation in 1899 and their demise in 1902. The patent date on the shutter is 1900; patent dates are not always useful, but this one is, in the light of your other information. I am now left wondering whether production of the Kamrex ceased with the demise of Rauber and Wollensak, or whether it continued with a differently named shutter under the new regime of "Wollensak Optical Company".
            There are always more questions than answers in this game, but thanks for providing some of the answers, anyway
            Regards,
            Eric.
            www.woodandbrass.co.uk

            --- In woodandbrass@yahoogroups.com, Ralph & Bobbi London <London@...> wrote:
            >
            > I sold my Lancaster Kamrex Deluxe in early 2008 for US$300. Here's
            > what I can reconstruct about it: 1/4 plate, red bellows, 1/4 plate
            > Rectigraph lens by Lancaster, 1 plate holder hinged.
            >
            > On Jul 14, 2009, at 4:07 AM, eric evans wrote:
            >
            > > So, the Kamrex camera is in my hands as I write (figuratively
            > > speaking, cos I can't type one-handed). It is a quarter plate, with
            > > cross and rising front movements, and labelled "Kamrex Patent",
            > > black leather covered, polished mahogany interiored, and has the
            > > J.Lancaster "Shield" label prominently on it, a lens marked
            > > "J.Lancaster Birmingham 1/4 pl Rectigraph" with apertures (get
            > > this), F60, 40, 30, 20, in a brass Rauber & Wollensak Pneumatic
            > > shutter with speeds 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, B, T. Anything
            > > known about Rauber & Wollensak Opt. Co., Rochester, NY, USA? I'm not
            > > good on Americana. And what could have been the relationship?
            >
            > From Rudolf Kingslake, "The Photographic Manufacturing Companies of
            > Rochester, New York," 1997, p. 47:
            >
            > "in 1899 the Wollensak brothers [Andrew and John C.] decided to
            > establish Rauber and Wollensak, a company that made camera shutters in
            > direct competition with Bausch & Lomb and Eastman Kodak Company. They
            > were assisted financially by Stephen Rauber, formerly president of the
            > defunct Union Brewing Company. Rauber was not really interested in
            > technical matters, and in 1902 he left to become a coal merchant. At
            > that time the Wollensaks changed the name of their company from Rauber
            > and Wollensak to Wollensak Optical Company."
            >
            > > The Kamrex camera is not mentioned at all in Channing & Dunn, and
            > > the one in McKeown is alleged to have a polished mahogany body and
            > > red bellows, so I guess that would be the "Tropical" version and
            > > mine is bog-standard, but for 45 quid, I'm happy as Larry.
            > > McK. says it is more common in the 1/2 plate size, and suggests a
            > > price rather higher than twice what I paid, but again, that would be
            > > for the tropical.
            >
            > McKeown, 12th edition, list the Kamrex as simply mahogany. I don't
            > recall my Kamrex being tropical, especially since I do not collect
            > tropical cameras. My selling price is consistent with McKeown's price
            > of $200-300.
            >
            > Ralph
            >
          • eric evans
            Hi David, Thanks for your interest. I must get the Thomas book when my next pension cheque comes in; I see that Peter has one in stock. I hadn t heard of it
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 15, 2009
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              Hi David,
              Thanks for your interest. I must get the Thomas book when my next pension cheque comes in; I see that Peter has one in stock. I hadn't heard of it previously, and despite Ralph's opinion of its accuracy, I think I'd like to own it. One of the reasons I keep posting questions here is my deficiency in decent reference material; I keep bidding for what might be called "Primary Source Ephemera" but the prices it fetches are shocking. There must be some collectors, somewhere.....
              Regards,
              Eric.
              www.woodandbrass.co.uk


              --- In woodandbrass@yahoogroups.com, David Purcell <david.purcell@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Eric!
              >
              > What a nice find. Interesting to see something from Lancaster that differs from the conventional Instantograph pattern.
              >
              > I am still looking through some books for information, but so far the closest I have come is a reference in the Thomas International Photo Directopry of Antique Cameras, which lists two other folding plate cameras with names beginning with "K", namely the Kamret Folding Plate Camera and the Kamarex Hand & Stand (note the extra "A"). The latter is pictured and is very similar in form, although the case is shallower and the poor quality picture suggests that it has thumbscrews allowing the back to be clamped / released so that it can be tilted. It also seems to have a simple barrel lens and no shutter and might by plain mahogany finish rather than leather covered - but I'm stretching my interpolation from the poor picture at this point!
              >
              > I'll keep digging ...
              >
              > More anon,
              >
              > David
              >
              > _
              >
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