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IanG
6-Mar-2016, 03:01
I bought this on Friday, there's no makers name but it's well made. It has a fairly unique brass locking system that the front standard locks into

http://lostlabours.co.uk/Uploads/hp-unknown01-sm.jpg

http://lostlabours.co.uk/Uploads/hp-unknown02-sm.jpg

http://lostlabours.co.uk/Uploads/hp-unknown04-sm.jpg

The Schneider 165mm f4.5 Isconar that came with it is probably useless, the shutters not working and the glass is extremely dirty and is unlikely to clean sufficiently, it's not original anyway.

There's a nice tripod as well, again needing some repair though but with everything for 40 ($60) it's still a bargain :D, The camera obviously needs new bellows, and the two struts for the front standard need repair & one replacing.

I can't find anything remotely similar.

Ian

Steven Tribe
6-Mar-2016, 05:14
How about starting from the Collins patent A&N store model shown in earlyphotography? General brass is similar, quite apart from the detachment system. An earlier model perhaps? There is a BJP reference to an ad.

IanG
6-Mar-2016, 05:46
I'm more inclined to think Watson, Perken but less likely Gandolfi but still just possible. Much of the camera is like the early Watson Acme, the difference is the front standard fit and rise/fall and the Billcliffe style fittings, also the solid base. I think it'll take time and lick identifying this one.

Ian

Steven Tribe
6-Mar-2016, 05:57
I would say no to Watson, Perken and Gandolfi as they were glad for their nameplates. Bilcliff is more likely. The patent may just cover the locking system - just like one of Lancaster's patents.

You have noticed the marking on the ground glass that suggests it is a mono/stereo?

Bill_1856
6-Mar-2016, 08:09
If the baseplate ain't split then its not a Gandolfi. :)

IanG
6-Mar-2016, 09:25
The half plate GG screen is marked for Postcard size plates as well and in fact there's a conversion insert for the plate holder, it's sat inside the camera in the first photo, that's as I picked it up the plate holder in place and unlocked as well :D While it's possible the owner shot stereo images but unlikely as it's only a small lens board and there's no lateral movement needed when shooting stereo pairs with a single lens.

None of the brass work appears to be similar to a Billclff half plate camera, the shape of the locking fittings on the fronts standard have similarities but are also different. There's two holes in the wood under where the lens board fits that indicate there may have been a name plate in the past.

The slotted guides on the sides of the rear frame for rear tilt aren't that common, these are typical of Watson & Gandolfi and the brass work except the frpnt standard is very similar. I think I may have solved part of the mystery as I've just found an image of a Perken Son and Rayment camera using the same style locking fittings on the front standard this would also make sense of why many of the other fittings look similar to early half plate Watson and Gandofi cameras. The fittings on the back itself are similar to those on a Perken made J.T. Chapman quarter plate camera.


If the baseplate ain't split then its not a Gandolfi. :)

It's better made :D It's one of the best half plate cameras I've seen despite its current state and is quite obviously from a leading manufacturer.

Ian

Steven Tribe
6-Mar-2016, 11:57
Didn't Gandolfi start at Rayment?

IanG
6-Mar-2016, 12:23
Didn't Gandolfi start at Rayment?

No he worked for Lejeune & Perken until 1885, Perken Son and Rament were formed in 1887. I'm not suggesting what make my camera is at the moment rather that it's somewhere from that mix. The early Watson Acme and similar Gandolfi seem to be simpler we know that both companies used Perken designs but it maybe that some of my camera's parts possibly the front standard locking mechanism were patented.

Ian

IanG
6-Mar-2016, 13:49
Update, there's an Arthur Rayment Patent 1891 that covers "Front standard is made detachable by using spring bolts on the forks. Two positions for the forks locked by a single pair of struts". That's a perfect description for how my front standard fit and detaches..

In addition I've found a camera back from a Watson that's identical to the one on my camera despite being on quite a different style (tailboard) camera, all the brass hardware is absolutely identical. Perken cameras where sold by other companies as well as their own range of Optimus cameras. Now I need to find what model.

Ian

karl french
6-Mar-2016, 15:25
http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/b_chap.html

Start here.

IanG
7-Mar-2016, 02:16
http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/b_chap.html

Start here.

That's where I always start and I have occasional correspondence with the webmaster, there are the odd mistakes. There are a few other smaller sites for British field cameras but nowhere near as good. I have two or three other field cameras to identify as well but one problem is that here in the UK cameras could be bought in kit form for assembly at home or by smaller workshops.

The other important resource I use is older BJP Almanacs but pre-1920 copies are scarce and expensive, you'll see the Earlyphotography website contains a lot of BJP references. Patents are important as well and where I can I save them, in this case Arthur Rayments Patent no 14648 which covers the front standard fit isn't available but is described on Earlyphotography, it would have been listed in the weekly BJP magazine after publication and later in the relevant Almanac.

Often it's the unusual features that help identify makers, and in this case it was Steven Tribe's mention of Rayment and the fact that the front standard fitting is so unusual but well thought out and made that made me think look at Patents. If I'm somewhere where I can access old British Patents I will check Rayment's Patent. The EPO is still scanning older British Patents and adding them online.

I will pass on the details of the fittings to Earlyphotography along with other photos.

Ian