View Full Version : Mystery camera

15-Nov-2009, 12:33
Hi everyone I am a new kid on the block, well not so new I have been either selling cameras or taking photographs for over 40 years and moving around from shops to studios, have gathered quite a bit of gear.
After my last move I thought it was time to take stock of what was in all the boxes.
Finally after a month of sifting sorting and chucking out, the was one camera I had no knowledge of and was hoping someone could put me in the picture {if you pardon the pun.} name that camera and a bit of history.
Picture uploaded,Lens ALDIS ANASTIGMAT f6 n.2 5.75in. SHUTTER ILEX optical co. Rochester N.Y Universal T B 150 100 50 25 5 2.
The back has a 5x4 screen behind a leather shade that slides to allow dark slide.
Apart from that info there is no other origins, if you can help me with this I would appreciate the help and good luck.

15-Nov-2009, 16:28
Aldis was a well known British company that made the famous 'Aldis lamp' used by teh Royal Navy during the world wars to signal visually from ship to ship,..also used in WWII by RAF Coastal Cmd and Fleet Airarm for signalling to ships. Aldis also made various types of still and movie projectors including cinema sizes. Aldis was taken over by the 'Rank Organisation' in the 1960's and, like all their other photo industry aquisitions, was 'milked' to death quite quickly because of its high quality product reputation.

Use of American shutter on this camera suggests a wartime item, and teh general appearance suggests WWI. Is it a 4x5 or a 1/4plate model?


Aldis Brothers was established in 1901 when Hugh Lancelot Aldis left Dallmeyer. H.L. Aldis was elected a member of the RPS in 1894. Connection with 'Tudor Houghton camera' Series 2 reviewed and tested by Amatuer Photgrapher magazine in 1911

Glenn Thoreson
16-Nov-2009, 12:12
Are you sure it takes 4X5 film? It looks like one of the many folding cameras that used 9X12 cm sheet film or glass plates. Period would be roughly about 1910 to 1930. There were many of these sold and made by dozens of companies.
The name on the lens and shutter doesn't have much bearing on the make of the camera. It could very well have been made by Ica or Zeiss. Look for a very faint number embossed on or under the strap. That lens is supposed to be pretty good. You might want to try it out.

16-Nov-2009, 12:37
4x5" does look odd, unless it was made in the US or for US export - 4x5" did not really make it to Europe until WWII, when US supplies filled the gap left by the German camera industry. The corresponding UK and continental sizes were 9x12cm and 10x15cm.

That camera type was initiated by Ica, but soon made by others as well - the vast majority of them were of German make, but many were OEM products and sold under the brand of the retailer, with lenses, shutters, screen and film holders sourced elsewhere.

16-Nov-2009, 12:48
Thanks guys for your input, have taken off the back and measured the film area and you are right it is 1/4 plate and as you say many companies made these, this one judging by the amount of wear on the tripod bush it was used for portraits as the view bush has no wear.
If no one else, has any other ideas we will call it a 'BITSA' passport camera.