Nineteenth Century Cameras, Artifact of the Month for August 2011

August 01, 2011 Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator

Nineteenth Century Cameras
JEFF-10378 and JEFF-10379

The golden age of beautiful cameras hand-crafted of fine polished woods, brass and leather lasted from the birth of photography in 1839 to the early part of the 20th century. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is fortunate to have two fine examples of nineteenth century glass plate cameras in our museum collection. These cameras are currently on exhibit in the Gateway Arch visitor center.

The smaller of the two cameras, made by the Century E.K. Company, has a wooden tripod stand with a metal crank that raises and lowers the camera. The camera box bellows is made of metal and wood. The larger camera, made by Victory Company, has a camera bellows that is much larger and sits on a solid wood flat bed. Both cameras are equipped with Wollensak-Rochester brass portrait lenses. Since American view cameras were made for a relatively brief period, they are fairly scarce in number. The companies listed above were leaders in camera production from the mid-nineteenth century through the beginning of the twentieth century.

Nineteenth Century Cameras


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