View Full Version : Base Rail on Century View Camera

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 15:40
I just acquired an 8x10 Century View. It appears it is one of the first models. Question is concerning the base rail. It has two sets of gears. One on top. One on bottom. The standards will not work from the set on the bottom. What were they for? Anybody any idea?


22-Mar-2007, 15:57
If it's anything like the Kodak, the top rail is for the standards, the bottom rail is for the tripod support.

I'll post a picture shortly but basically it's like a metal frame with a wooden base. It slides underneath and another gear allows proper balance for the camera's rails.

Do you have three sets of grooves along the sides?

22-Mar-2007, 16:18
Question is concerning the base rail. It has two sets of gears. One on top. One on bottom. The standards will not work from the set on the bottom. What were they for? Anybody any idea?

It looks like the base rail gearing is required to stabilise the centre of gravity of the camera depending on your bellows extension. This may be why the standards do not work from the bottom rail since the camera set up would then tip over if extended beyond the camera's centre of gravity.

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 16:28
That would make sense. It just threw me off a little, cause my Conley has the movable tripod support centered in the main rails. It still runs ina groove on the bottom, but is completely within the side rails (flush on top and bottom)

22-Mar-2007, 17:03
Yes...the Conley is less like the proto-monorail that the Century View appears to be although it's double geared rails enables double swing movements which is amazing for its age!

Just look at the Seroco No.2 variant - observe the detail in the metal hinging and how fastidiously crafted it was. It doesn't look like technology is going back to this level of craftsmanship anytime soon:


Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 17:16
yep. The Conley BW in 8x10 is another camera I have.Like this one:


I also have pics of mine in the "show me yours" Thread


I love the old wood cameras. That is why I have been following Ash's posts. I enjoy seeing old fireplace pieces revived as usable instruments. I just finished an old 4x5 "Brand Camera" that I purchased from another forum member. Built in 20's (?) has front rise/fall, swing, shift, tilt, rear shift,tilt,swing. 360 deg. rotating back. Geared focusing, aluminum body. Prettu cool old instruments.

22-Mar-2007, 17:36
It's lovely Randy. But red bellows????

I guess you can see I vote conservative!

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 17:46
Momentary lapse in sanity.
It does happen to be the only thing I own with red bellows.
As I stated somewhere else on one of these, I originally made them from micro-suede. They look decent, fold decently, and they work. BUT micro-suede is too bulky, really. One of these years, I will replace with either pig-skin split (1 ounce weight) which looks good and works exceptionally, or with the rubber-coated nylon, as others have recommended. The Century will probably get the pig-skin since I already have a piece large enough to make them. The one ounce weight leather is real close to the same weight of the old wood camera bellows. In yet another thread here, there is a pic of one I recently made from the pig-skin. Here:

22-Mar-2007, 17:53
To be fair, the red bellows goes quite well with the gilt brass and wood. It's just that I'm more used to plain black bellows from the original era. Kind of like restorations to look its age, rather than having modern (evident) add ons.

Your bellows draw must be superb with such high grade stuff. I need to check mine to find out how long they will last. Shame you don't show whole plates - that would be more authentic for the camera's era than 8x10 :)