Identifying a photo of a folding camera ca. 1900

dch0jmh

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I have an album of old family photographs that date from between 1895 and 1910. I'm trying to date them and identify as many as possible of the people in them. One of them is a family group centred around my great-grandmother, and one of the people in it (possibly my grandfather) is carrying a
folding camera. I wondered whether people here with more experience than me can say anything that would help to date it within the window above. Is it a half-plate camera? Can you say anything about the model? Going by my great-grandmother's age compared to other photos of her, I think it's probably 1900-1905.

Many thanks!

145-1-outer-small.jpg

145-1-camera.jpg
 

john.margetts

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It is not a plate camera - the film advance knob is clearly visible. In the time frame the OP offers , there were 30+ German camera manufacturers, several British, Czech and French manufacturers - those are the major manufacturers in Europe. The Americas had several as well.

www.johns-old-cameras.blogspot.co.uk
 

vintagesnaps

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The front of the camera looks familiar but I can't place it, with the round black shutter dial at the type, could be Voigtlander? Kodak? KW (Kamerawerk)? As has been said, there were a number of manufacturers.

To me it looks like it might be larger than 120 size which later became standard. I have cameras that take 116 that are larger because the spool was longer and the camera had to accommodate that. A number of films in various sizes were made early on (late 1800s).

I was noticing the clothing - I'm not sure when 'mutton chop' sleeves and high necklines were still being worn but probably earlier in your estimated time frame. Seems like maybe by 1905 or so women were wearing ankle length skirts and ankle boots.

It's a wonderful historic photo.
 

xenskhe

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There was a Voightlander camera - Film Camera I,II that has the same curved front feet I feel I can see in your enlargement, but the brilliant finders are chrome not black. Similar in some ways though, with the dial at 12 o'clock etc.
 
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dch0jmh

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Thank you all very much! That gives me quite a lot to go on. If it's a Kodak 3A that dates it to after 1903: the one problem I have with that is that there's an album of larger photographs that I suspect (but can't be certain) were taken _with_ this camera, two of which are unambiguously dateable to the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901.

I'm intrigued by the comment that it looks larger-format than 120 roll film. I'm not at home until next week, but when I am I'll check whether the prints (which are probably contact prints) are of a size to be either 120 or 116 format.

It's also very helpful for me to understand that the small black circle above the lens is a shutter dial - I'd wondered about that. It's a feature that I can't quite match to any of the 3As I've seen pictures of. I'll work through the Voigtlander pictures when I can to see if anything matches more convincingly.

I do realise that there may be additional dating clues in the clothing, but that's an aspect I haven't got properly to grips with yet.

I've actually just realised that there's another photo in the album that shows a side view of what must be the same camera. It's tiny, but I append a blow-up below in case it suggests anything. It's possible I can get a better scan of this when I can go back to the print and play with the contrast on the scanner.

Thanks again, and if anyone has any further thoughts I'd love to hear them.

144-2-camera.jpg
 

xenskhe

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The second picture is helpful. See the bright edge to the shutter housing (Compur?). And in the first picture, the curved foot, and also the 'knee' bump to the rear folding strut at the body.
 
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dch0jmh

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Many thanks! I don't think it can actually be a Compur shutter, because my google searches says they were first made in 1912 and my great-grandmother (in the centre) looks significantly younger here than she does in a well-dated picture of her from 1910, and she died in 1912.

Thanks for the Voigtlander link too.
 

xenskhe

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Good point, you're welcome. I feel there's a Gauthier, and also maybe a Bergheil link (due to the finder, not the body), but i'm unable to offer an explanation of why :) Good luck with what you might find out.
 

IanG

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In the UK there was the Alliance Roll Film co Ltd, that looks similar to my camera with a B&L shutter.

alliance01sm.jpg


The company was formed in 1898 a joint venture between Holmes Brothers who made Sanderson cameras and Houghtons, the company was dissolved in 1904 when a number of companies merged with into Houghtons Ltd,so later cameras were sold under the Ensign brand name.

This one is a 110 camera taking 5x4 negative on roll film, some models could use plates as well.

Ian
 

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