View Full Version : help identifying old box camera

29-May-2013, 17:00
It was probably home made but how exactly did this one work? Was there a lens? and what held the film inside? Any info is appreciated.

29-May-2013, 17:00

29-May-2013, 17:01
its about 5x7

29-May-2013, 17:18
The lens would have been in the hole in the square plate in the last picture. Definitely home made for glass dry plates.

29-May-2013, 17:21
hmm i had to pull off the top which was nailed down ( barely) and all of that was under. So the lens went under the top piece with the smaller hole?

29-May-2013, 18:24
it doesn't look like there was a shutter ...
maybe it was a pinhole camera?
what does the inside of the wood box look like
is it stained from chemicals ?

29-May-2013, 18:43
This seems to be patterned of a Brownie. Note the two reflex viewers: one for portrait, one for landscape. I suspect it did have a lens that was removed. There were a number of similar cameras made say 1895-1905. I don't see any provision for a roll film winding knob, so it probably was made for dry plates. There was a style of camera called "falling plate" box cameras in that period. The rough finish makes me think it could have been home made.

29-May-2013, 19:34
doesn't appear to have any staining from chemical I took a look at the falling plate cameras and it kinda looks simular but I am not too sure. All the ones I seen had the lens mounted on the inside and a hinged door with an opening about the size of the lens itself on outer cover. The opening on the outer cover on my box is tiny. I would really like to use it that's why I'm trying to figure out exactly or close to what it is.

29-May-2013, 20:08
the staining would have suggested wet plate ... the chemistry stains and eats through wood.
in photo #2 it looks like in the open space there was something there
that isn't now ..
was there another part that was removed ?

the inside doesn't look like a falling plate camera or a "normal" dry plate camera, but if a part was removed or is missing
it might have been a frame with a pair of flat springs that would have held a plate for pinhole work.
a meniscus lens like a box or falling plate camera would have been kind of fast, and dry plates were kind of fast ... ( usually 50th S for both falling plate and box caemras)
so without a shutter ( no drilled hole for a pneumatic shutter, or button for guillotine shutter ) it would have had to be a slow lens ...

29-May-2013, 21:06
If it is a pin hole then why the secondary larger opening under the top piece of wood? would the pin hole go there and maybe a shutter over the smaller hole?

29-May-2013, 21:15
no idea .. except to mechanically vignette the soft edges of the lens ?

30-May-2013, 06:39
My best guess (as a box camera collector) is that this was home made and didn't have a sophisticated multi-shot mechanism. Might have been a single shot camera. It could have had a simple lens of some sort--a meniscus or a lens recycled from an even older camera. The lens may or may not have been in shutter. I'm still thinking glass plates, based on the hinged door on the top and no provision for a roll film winder. I'm also sticking to my vintage of 1895-1905ish. The lens and simple shutter could have been stripped from the camera long ago and used yet again for another project. If you want to try and use it, you could find a lens on ebay etc. that will fit the focal length that the box dictates. I'm thinking a 6x9 or quarter plate lens here. You then measure how far the film has to be from the lens and find a way to fix a holder in there. You might have to load a sheet of film inside in the dark, take a shot, and then unload in the dark. I don't see any slot for a film holder here.