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View Full Version : How many Deardorff cameras are there now?



diversey
19-Feb-2015, 20:54
I got an answer from Ken Hough today and he told me my Deardorff V8 wad sold in 1959. I was wondering how many Deardorff cameras were made or out there now.:)

koh303
19-Feb-2015, 21:14
about 6000 -7000 total from the original factory is what i came up with.

John Kasaian
19-Feb-2015, 23:31
Say, you're not planning on cornering the market on 'dorffs are you?
Iggy Farquart tried to do that back in '49.
It was a big mistake.
My V-8 came from Iggy's estate via a mysterious dwarf who claimed to have been Iggy's chauffeur, driving Iggy in a 1940 Packard Phaeton to the meanest sections of Chicago at all hours, negotiating to buy all the Deardorffs from studios who shot all the Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs. Iggy's chauffeur always had a pet iguana perched on his shoulder, which is why he was mysterious. He had a saber scar on his cheeks and spoke with a thick Moldavian accent too, but that's not unusual in stories like this.
Iggy's plan almost succeeded too, except that his girlfriend, a saloon singer with a penchant for Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum from Peoria named Dahlia, took up with Cruiser McGurn the famous boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet, because all Iggy cared for, or wanted to talk about was his growing collection of Deardorffs (and it was impressive---nearly a thousand of them warehoused in an old dirigible hangar in Akron according to an interview with sportscaster Harry Caray who got lost on his way to the Berghoff and accidentally crashed his '47 Buick through one of the walls and into the hangar.) Also, the ignored Dahlia wasn't getting any younger and Iggy was deathly allergic to engagement rings . While Cruiser and Dahlia were out on the town, Iggy decided to take his girl back. Iggy caught up with the pair at Southport Lanes and there was a fight and the rest, as they say, is History.

Randy Moe
19-Feb-2015, 23:52
Say, you're not planning on cornering the market on 'dorffs are you?
Iggy Farquart tried to do that back in '49.
It was a big mistake.
My V-8 came from Iggy's estate via a mysterious dwarf who claimed to have been Iggy's chauffeur, driving Iggy in a 1940 Packard Phaeton to the meanest sections of Chicago at all hours, negotiating to buy all the Deardorffs from studios who shot all the Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs. Iggy's chauffeur always had a pet iguana perched on his shoulder, which is why he was mysterious. He had a saber scar on his cheeks and spoke with a thick Moldavian accent too, but that's not unusual in stories like this.
Iggy's plan almost succeeded too, except that his girlfriend, a saloon singer with a penchant for Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum from Peoria named Dahlia, took up with Cruiser McGurn the famous boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet, because all Iggy cared for, or wanted to talk about was his growing collection of Deardorffs (and it was impressive---nearly a thousand of them warehoused in an old dirigible hangar in Akron according to an interview with sportscaster Harry Caray who got lost on his way to the Berghoff and accidentally crashed his '47 Buick through one of the walls and into the hangar.) Also, the ignored Dahlia wasn't getting any younger and Iggy was deathly allergic to engagement rings . While Cruiser and Dahlia were out on the town, Iggy decided to take his girl back. Iggy caught up with the pair at Southport Lanes and there was a fight and the rest, as they say, is History.

Plausible. Southport Lanes proved your veracity...How many alleys? And what is unusual about the place?

I heard of 500 Studio 11X14 SC11's as a production total for that model, not all sold with Bi-Post. Some big catalog houses, like Montgomery Wards used as many as 80 in one building...That building is huge and still looks great by the river.

John Kasaian
20-Feb-2015, 00:06
Plausible. Southport Lanes proved your veracity...How many alleys? And what is unusual about the place?

I heard of 500 Studio 11X14 SC11's as a production total for that model, not all sold with Bi-Post. Some big catalog houses, like Montgomery Wards used as many as 80 in one building...That building is huge and still looks great by the river.
I'm just a California boy, but Iggy's chauffeur's dying words to me (right after he delivered my V-8 he suffered a poisoned dart to his neck, apparently from an Amazonian blow gun) was about a bowling alley where the pins were hand set by pin boys and some kind of painted mural portraying nymphs.
Does that sound like Southport lanes?

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2015, 00:13
I'm just a California boy, but Iggy's chauffeur's dying words to me (right after he delivered my V-8 he suffered a poisoned dart to his neck, apparently from an Amazonian blow gun) was about a bowling alley where the pins were hand set by pin boys and some kind of painted mural portraying nymphs.
Does that sound like Southport lanes?

It also has only 8 lanes and my crew used to rent the whole place for parties. Then we would pay the pin setter boys to knock pins over so we could win our huge bets. Payoffs the Chicago Way.

John Kasaian
20-Feb-2015, 07:19
The stuff of Legends.

William Whitaker
20-Feb-2015, 07:38
The stuff of Legends.

...or Dagor77 ramblings!

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2015, 09:12
Oi, John K., sell that story line and be wealthy!
The Cohen brothers would go nutz for it!
.

Byclops
20-Feb-2015, 09:26
But you left out the "Dude."

karl french
20-Feb-2015, 10:01
Yes, probably something around 7000 cameras made by the end of the Chicago era. Considering most of the production went into commercial environments and that's a hard life for a camera. I'd say less than half are still in existence.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2015, 10:37
No matter how many there are, it is always one less than wanted.

John Kasaian
20-Feb-2015, 12:56
Every Deardorff has a story;)

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2015, 13:00
Every Deardorff has a story;)

Rod Stewart 1971 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1szgbHU6ZA)

domaz
20-Feb-2015, 17:36
On this topic how many Baby Deardorffs are in existence? I found mine in a dark midwest basement. The bellows were trashed but they are easily replaced. It has many has scuffs and scratches but I'm not refinishing it. I hate refinished furniture- no personality, and wooden cameras are no different in my mind.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2015, 18:02
[...] I hate refinished furniture- no personality, and wooden cameras are no different in my mind.

Cool! I will give you advance notice when I sell out my household on the way to a aged care facility. :)
.

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 18:11
On this topic how many Baby Deardorffs are in existence? I found mine in a dark midwest basement. The bellows were trashed but they are easily replaced. It has many has scuffs and scratches but I'm not refinishing it. I hate refinished furniture- no personality, and wooden cameras are no different in my mind.

Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. Refinishing a deardorff and at the same time fixing or eliminating various issues it might have is a good thing. Enabling the camera to live yet another 100 years is also a good thing. Who will have it after you does not matter, and you will not care when you are gone, but the camera might...

Leonard Robertson
20-Feb-2015, 18:12
On this topic how many Baby Deardorffs are in existence? I found mine in a dark midwest basement. The bellows were trashed but they are easily replaced. It has many has scuffs and scratches but I'm not refinishing it. I hate refinished furniture- no personality, and wooden cameras are no different in my mind.

According to Ken Hough from his Baby Deardorff page, "There were around 500 total made." Which doesn't answer how many survivors there are, but gives an upper limit.

http://deardorffcameras.0catch.com/v4os/v4os.html

Len

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 18:18
There were several more made in various other incarnations of the company, including the current one (who many did they actually deliver.. who knows), but at least another 100 small cameras out there beyond original production.

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2015, 18:22
Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. Refinishing a deardorff and at the same time fixing or eliminating various issues it might have is a good thing. Enabling the camera to live yet another 100 years is also a good thing. Who will have it after you does not matter, and you will not care when you are gone, but the camera might...

I plan to watch over mine for eternity. Prove me wrong. :)

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2015, 18:24
Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. [...]

The Deardorff is the Harley-Davidson Hawg, full dresser of cameras.
.

John Kasaian
20-Feb-2015, 18:37
Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. Refinishing a deardorff and at the same time fixing or eliminating various issues it might have is a good thing. Enabling the camera to live yet another 100 years is also a good thing. Who will have it after you does not matter, and you will not care when you are gone, but the camera might...

129545
Where the good Deardorffs go when they at last succumb.

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 18:59
129545
Where the good Deardorffs go when they at last succumb.

So true. Its a good thing i was sitting down when reading this, or i would have been rolling on the floor laughing.

karl french
20-Feb-2015, 19:11
"Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. Refinishing a deardorff and at the same time fixing or eliminating various issues it might have is a good thing. Enabling the camera to live yet another 100 years is also a good thing. Who will have it after you does not matter, and you will not care when you are gone, but the camera might..."

Hogwash!

You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm sorry you just don't "get it."

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2015, 19:33
I have never wanted a Field Deardorff, but the SC11 Studio 11X14 model is something else entirely. As most here know, I have a self restored one.

It was factory offered with an optional 47" Artar for corrective photography. It can do a few strange things, like hang upside down 20 feet in the air with extreme movements and then move down to the floor, all with one stand. Here. (http://www.deardorffcameras.com/deardorffcameras/wp-content/gallery/deardorff_gallery/16a.jpg)

I don't know of another box that can do that.

Perhaps a Linhof Gigant, but it was only for tiny 8x10 and I can't find one. Look here. (http://www.linhofstudio.com/knowledgebank/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Gigant-stand.jpg) I do want one as I have the matching Linhof Color Kardan.
Since it used electrics, I think they were all scrapped when the electric controls failed. Deardorrf Bi-Post wisely used bicycle chain for up and down...

Saltzman made one heck of a studio camera stand (http://dustyman.com/post/110672256387/saltman-studio-camera-stand) and one can be seen in Audrey Hepburn's movie 'Funny Face (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funny_Face)' with Fred Astaire using one to photograph her. A good movie for film camera buffs.

I know of 5 owners of SC11's and 2 of them recently tried to sell them. Sad indeed.

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 19:38
I'm sorry you just don't "get it."
Clearly, i don't. Which is why have been using one for so many years (and feeling sorry for my self for not having a different camera)...

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 19:40
It was factory offered with an optional 47" Artar for corrective photography. It can do a few strange things...Here. (http://www.deardorffcameras.com/deardorffcameras/wp-content/gallery/deardorff_gallery/16a.jpg)

That's for when you need to correct problems in the space time continuum.

Randy Moe
20-Feb-2015, 19:46
That's for when you need to correct problems in the space time continuum.

I'm working on timeless imaginary imagery every

karl french
20-Feb-2015, 20:53
I guess it's a "love/hate" relationship. :-)

koh303
20-Feb-2015, 21:07
No. It's a "hate/i dont get it" relationship.

Tracy Storer
22-Feb-2015, 23:00
Sorry you don't like them, but that doesn't make them awful. Many photographers, big names and small, used them because they found good features and function, and there were a lot of other 8x10 cameras to choose from , "back in the day". I've been shooting large format for 35 years, and quite like the basic Deardorff field design, it may not be perfect for everyones needs, but I find them eminently, and quite enjoyably, usable. Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Clyde Butcher, and a fair few others made a point of using them at one time or another. Plenty of fact to draw on without relying on "myth".
Cameras are like shoes, or any other tool or accessory, don't wear your bedroom slippers for a mountain hike, and Visa-Versa. Some like Wood and Brass, others, all metal, find what works for YOU, and go with it.

On the original question, I wonder if anyone has asked Ken Hough, He may have a pretty solid answer. Based on Serial numbers I tracked, of cameras I owned and other known dates, the early 1950s saw an average of 21 8x10s per month, mid 1950-mid 1956. Don't forget production dated from the mid 1920s, with serial numbers for 8x10s finally beginning in May 1950 starting with #500.
There were 8x10s, 5x7s, 4x5 specials, 8x10 and 11x14 Commercial/Studio cameras, studio stands, the "P8" portrait camera and stand, 12x20s(some with 8x20 backs), "Baby" 4x5s, Triamapros, and who knows what other one-off/custom pieces, repairs, upgrades, etc.
Also, who knows what production delays during factory moves, supply shortages, outside vendor problems, etc. In the end, the fact remains, the company, and cameras, earned a place in history based on their quality. Whatever "buzz" remains, is based on the legacy of delivered quality. Deardorff didn't stay in business all those decades on internet "hype" or "buzz".


Deadorffs are only special or have personality because they are kind of really awful cameras, and because of some myth revolving around who and who used them at one time. Refinishing a deardorff and at the same time fixing or eliminating various issues it might have is a good thing. Enabling the camera to live yet another 100 years is also a good thing. Who will have it after you does not matter, and you will not care when you are gone, but the camera might...

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2015, 23:22
I'm kinda upset I missed this Deardorff.

361223924312

These are very nice for portrait and the big 10" lens board is good for huge lenses.

But I don't really need one and I would want it with the Art Deco metal Bi-Post.

Last year a guy stopped by me and we made some deals, he had 3 studio Deardorff's with stands and one of this model with the Art Deco stand. He had just covered maybe 4000 miles buying as much as he could fit in his cargo trailer and truck. I got all the money he had in his pants, but I bet he had way more for purchasing. People are seriously collecting stupid old Deardorff's.

Remember a couple years ago an East Coast studio sold 15 of the Studio Deardorff.

8x10 user
23-Feb-2015, 09:53
I believe the guy in New Jersey still has an S8 or S11 for sale. They are great monster studio cameras. The only "giants" I know of with full movements. Mine came complete with 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5 revolving/reducing adapters.

Randy Moe
23-Feb-2015, 10:41
I believe the guy in New Jersey still has an S8 or S11 for sale. They are great monster studio cameras. The only "giants" I know of with full movements. Mine came complete with 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5 revolving/reducing adapters.

I got my SC11 in Chicago, the seller delivered and a second Chicago guy filled out my accessories. Then Turner made me 3 sets of OE style bellows. Richard Ritter fitted my 11x14 back with his custom bail back and matched 5 custom RR new 11X14 holders to his back. Perfect registration.

A labor of love for all concerned.

I thank the sellers, Turner Bellows and Richard Ritter for making my entire system workable and complete.

I forgot zimba of eBay for his many custom lens boards. He also loves giant cameras. I need to see his darkroom one day. I have seen his lensboard factory. We are FaceBook friends!

diversey
23-Feb-2015, 10:49
Your SC11 is so beautiful and we all envy you. Could you please ask zimba to join Chicago LF group? Thanks.


I got my SC11 in Chicago, the seller delivered and a second Chicago guy filled out my accessories. Then Turner made me 3 sets of OE style bellows. Richard Ritter fitted my 11x14 back with his custom bail back and matched 5 custom RR new 11X14 holders to his back. Perfect registration.

A labor of love for all concerned.

I thank the sellers, Turner Bellows and Richard Ritter for making my entire system workable and complete.

I forgot zimba of eBay for his many custom lens boards. He also loves giant cameras. I need to see his darkroom one day. I have seen his lensboard factory. We are FaceBook friends!

Randy Moe
23-Feb-2015, 10:56
Your SC11 is so beautiful and we all envy you. Could you please ask zimba to join Chicago LF group? Thanks.

I'll try. English is his second language. He works a lot.

Look for him on FB LF pages. We communicate with pictures mostly.

Jim Noel
23-Feb-2015, 12:05
I no longer have my 8x10, but I still have and use my 5x7 which I bought nearly new about 1945. I know it was made prior to 1939, the date when 5x7's began getting serial numbers. During the ensuing years I have probably owned at least 10 other 5x7's, but this one remains my favorite. It's bag is always packed and ready to go.
Some worry about no front swings. The original Deardorff book has a good explanation of how to use the camera without them. I am so used to it I don't use front swings on cameras that have them.

premortho
25-Feb-2015, 16:36
Yeah, me too. Although my favorite 5X7 is an Ansco. Only rise and fall on the front, all swings and tilts on the back. I have now got a 5X7 Burke & James with all kind of movements every which way, and is rigid in none of them. I lost my beloved Ansco in a house fire about 10 years ago. Wish I could afford another.
I no longer have my 8x10, but I still have and use my 5x7 which I bought nearly new about 1945. I know it was made prior to 1939, the date when 5x7's began getting serial numbers. During the ensuing years I have probably owned at least 10 other 5x7's, but this one remains my favorite. It's bag is always packed and ready to go.
Some worry about no front swings. The original Deardorff book has a good explanation of how to use the camera without them. I am so used to it I don't use front swings on cameras that have them.