View Full Version : Any Info on these cameras??

5-Feb-2007, 19:12

I recently bought a two Lg Format cameras, but could not find any good info on them. Can any one help me or point me to where I can get more info on them? (Don't know if I'm allowed to add photos.)

First one is Camera by "The National Camera CO":

Second Camera by "SEROCO CAMERA CO"
I understand that it was put out by Sears around 1901.

5-Feb-2007, 21:03
Is that the National which was on fleahbay a week or so ago? You may want to check http://www.fiberq.com/cam/index.htm for more info. Your camera looks a lot like a typical english compact travel camera (similar to Thornton Pickards etc). Somebody did A LOT of rather crude modifications to this camera if my memory of the auction pics serve me right. The added regular tripod mount is nice if you intent to use the camera. Originally, the camera bed itself served as a tripod head of sorts with brass pins to take the tripod legs. Could be a nice user.

The Seroco's (SEars ROebuck & COmpany) are quite common, and yes, they were sold through the catalog too. The cameras were made by Conley, which was owned by Sears. They don't offer the bells'n whistles of it's modern brethren, but are still very capable of taking excellent photographs. If you want to use it, check if the camera is set for film or for plates. It's only a fraction of an inch, but it could mean the difference between fuzzy and sharp photos. And just as importantly, take care with the bellows. If it's original, it may need a some treatment to keep it alive (think Lexol, mink oil, and such). Don't force the bellows if it is a bit stiff, or it could easily break. The shutter of the lens probably needs a CLA (and a WD40 "treatment" is NOT an option). The slower speeds are controlled by one the air pistons, and they are more often than not seized up (gummed up oil from a hundred years ago).

I got about thirty of these old beauties in various states of condition and restoration. Some take exorbitant times to bring back to life, but it's usually worth the effort tenfold. Hint: a little waxing often goes a long way in shining up the finish.

Good luck

5-Feb-2007, 21:22
Thank you. Both I got off Ebay. I plan to restore "The National Camera" back to it's original shape. I could be over my head. LOL Any idea of it's Age on the first one?
Here are more shots of the First Camera. http://www.dropshots.com/day.php?userid=113859&cdate=20070123&cimg=9
What is CLA?

5-Feb-2007, 21:49
Would The National been produced by W. Butcher & Sons of London ?

Brian Ellis
5-Feb-2007, 22:40
You can find a lot of information about Seneca cameras by Googling on all words "seneca camera."

6-Feb-2007, 16:25
You can find a lot of information about Seneca cameras by Googling on all words "seneca camera."

I did that, but very little history popped up. That's why I was hoping someone here on this forum could help. :) Also this one is not a Seneca Camera. It's actually a Seroco Camera. Slightly different cameras. :)