View Full Version : Thornton Pickard Triple Extension

3-Mar-2005, 11:43
I just acquired a Thornton Pickard triple extension half-plate camera that I plan to restore. The base of the camera does not have a socket for the tripod, just a round circle with some kind of brass device that I assume is used in some way for putting the camera on a tripod.

Can anyone explain how this brass circle is used? Must be a simple explanation because many of the pictures of Thornton Pickard cameras that I see have this brass circle.

Joe Smigiel
3-Mar-2005, 12:45

It looks to me like the brass ring has six attachment points for tripod leg pins like the old Crown tripods. The top of each Crown leg had a brass pin (the pins looked something like the pins used in registration sets for printing) which fit into the holes. The legs of the tripod were open like a fork and flexible so you could compress them together a bit and fit them between the pairs of brass holes on the ring. The open arrangement of the base meant that a lens and roller blind shutter could be left in place when the camera was folded for transport.

Struan Gray
3-Mar-2005, 12:51
With most of these here is no tripod head, or even a seperate 'crown' to the tripod. Instead, you attach tripod legs individually to three attachment points around the circle. Sometimes the attachments allow you to rotate the camera once all the legs are attached and erected, sometimes not.

It looks like a good weight-saving idea, but most people I've spoken to who've tried it in the field say the system is a royal pain. Attaching the third leg while holding up the camera and the other two requires three arms and the strength of Hercules. With a half-plate camera it may not be so bad, but I think there's a reason this design died out.

Ron anger
3-Mar-2005, 12:55
The circle in the base of the camera,rotates and has three sets of pins or holes.
each set about 4 inches apart.These receive the two piece upper sections of
three tripod legs.Each tripod leg is made up of four folding parts which taper
down to a point from the top which is about 4 inches wide.The wide end of the
legs (4 inches)have either a pin or a hole which clicks into place in the above
circular base on the camera. There is tension between the two pieces of the
top of of the legs spreading them apart and locking them into place.
Sounds so simple when you have seen one. Many cameras other than
the Thornton Picard used similar folding tripods made of mahogany.
These cameras were not heavy weights so the light folding tripods did the job.

Joe Smigiel
3-Mar-2005, 12:58

Looks like I had it backwards in regard to the pins and holes on the old Crown tripods. The pins are on the tripod head hardware with holes on the tripod leg forks. It looks like the opposite arrangement that is on your camera.

Here's a pic of a crown tripod up for auction right now where he pins are visible:

Ernest Purdum
3-Mar-2005, 14:52
The legs attached to "turntables" like these were a hazard. It was too easy to kick one leg out of position and set the whole rig tumbling down. The arrangement did have two virtues, though. One, it avoided the cracking of the base which is apt to occur otherwise (and why, I assume, that Deardorff adopted the big aluminum disk). Two, it allowed the camera to be closed up even with a quite bulky lens/shutter combination in place.

When modern tripods came into use, it was common for an adapter to be provided. This was a plate which attached to the camera in the same way as the legs and had at least one socket for a tripod attaching screw. Fairly recently, someone provided a camera which had a metal plate in the center of the bed. Rather than being flat, however, it was deeply dished so that a lens could be protected inside with the camera closed up. This seems to me to be an excellent arrangement and I wish I could remember who offered it.

Pete Watkins
4-Mar-2005, 00:00
A friend has a camera with a similar set up and his tripod is made from Ash wood (wood from an Ash tree). This wood was used as it is naturally springey.