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Thread: My new old Ansco camera

  1. #1

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    My new old Ansco camera

    Bought an "as is" camera on the great auction site in the sky. It's an Ansco Universal with a 4x5 back. It was listed "as is", no bellows, GG, or lensboard for $150. Not a big gamble for me so I went for it. It landed here today and is beautifully ugly. Apparently Anso's deluxe version was painted military green instead of natural cherry. Beautiful nickel silver hardware. Everything except the aforementioned items are like new. I think I'm going to do a minor rehab and use it. Looks like about 600mm of bellows draw and movements you can measure in inches. It's pre Agfa. can anyone point me toward additional info on these old Anscos? I've searched online and found a lot but would love to find more. Any personal experience? thanks

  2. #2
    lenser's Avatar
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    Tim from Missouri
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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    I own two, an 8x10 and a 5x7 and they are fantastic. I had Turner Bellows out of New York make a new bellows for the 8x10 more than three decades ago and it is still in near mint condition. These are outstanding users.

    AS for information, if you haven't checked Cameraeccentric.com, they are often a great resource for old catalogs and instruction manuals.
    Last edited by lenser; 11-May-2013 at 11:01.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  3. #3

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Thanks Tim, I found some good info on Cameraeccentric! kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by lenser View Post
    I own two, and 8x10 and a 5x7 and they are fantastic. I had Turner Bellows out of New York make a new bellows for the 8x10 more than three decades ago and it is still in near mint condition. These are outstanding users.

    AS for information, if you haven't checked Cameraeccentric.com, they are often a great resource for old catalogs and instruction manuals.

  4. #4

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Photos
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  5. #5

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Last time I talked to Turner Bellows in Rochester, they didn't have much interest in doing bellows, especially if you wanted a Red bellows. There is a place in the UK that will make the bellows for you; can't remember their name at this time.
    I have had several 5x7 and 8x10 Ansco and they are hard to beat.

  6. #6

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Stowell View Post
    Last time I talked to Turner Bellows in Rochester, they didn't have much interest in doing bellows, especially if you wanted a Red bellows. There is a place in the UK that will make the bellows for you; can't remember their name at this time.
    I have had several 5x7 and 8x10 Ansco and they are hard to beat.
    Thanks Ron. I've bought bellows from a China Ebayer and had good luck. They made a custom bellows for $130 including shipping. Took a couple weeks to get. I'll try them again.

  7. #7

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Western Bellows did my 'dorff's.
    No complaints from me.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #8

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    I'm in the later stages of completly stripping an 8x10 Ansco (it has exactly the same badge as yours) back to bare wood. All the wood has now been stained, sealed and three coats of laquer, and the grain looks great. I accidentally took all the paint out of the Ansco badge, so i've covered it in red enamel paint, then used fine wet & dry on a very flat block to sand it down, just leaving the letters filled with red enamel

    All the brass has been stripped of laquer (soak in 10% citric acid) cleaned with a suede shoe brush and wet & dry to 800 grade, then polished with Brasso. Most of it has come up really well but some of it needs recoating this weekend with some imatation gold leaf I've bought which appears to be the same colour.

    The new bellows were made by Custom Bellows UK in Red, but it is a darkish red rather than vived red so it should look really nice. They cost me about 250, but that is with UK postage.

    I intend to manufacture new brass knobs for it, so I will have some spare bakalite ones if you need any.

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  9. #9

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    That looks great!

    I'm going to try to remake all the wood parts out of cherry and transfer all the hardware. I'll save the original wood. I don't like the battle ship grey on mine and enjoy a woodworking challenge. I'm part way through with the front standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by brucep View Post
    I'm in the later stages of completly stripping an 8x10 Ansco (it has exactly the same badge as yours) back to bare wood. All the wood has now been stained, sealed and three coats of laquer, and the grain looks great. I accidentally took all the paint out of the Ansco badge, so i've covered it in red enamel paint, then used fine wet & dry on a very flat block to sand it down, just leaving the letters filled with red enamel

    All the brass has been stripped of laquer (soak in 10% citric acid) cleaned with a suede shoe brush and wet & dry to 800 grade, then polished with Brasso. Most of it has come up really well but some of it needs recoating this weekend with some imatation gold leaf I've bought which appears to be the same colour.

    The new bellows were made by Custom Bellows UK in Red, but it is a darkish red rather than vived red so it should look really nice. They cost me about 250, but that is with UK postage.

    I intend to manufacture new brass knobs for it, so I will have some spare bakalite ones if you need any.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

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    Re: My new old Ansco camera

    Quote Originally Posted by redshift View Post
    That looks great!

    I'm going to try to remake all the wood parts out of cherry and transfer all the hardware. I'll save the original wood. I don't like the battle ship grey on mine and enjoy a woodworking challenge. I'm part way through with the front standard.
    I'm sure that you will find the wood under the awful finish is actually cherry and mahogany...mine is. It looks like mine had been sprayed with a stained laquer much like a car would be, and it had obliterated any sign of the wood grain underneath.

    A few coats of Nitromors to soften the stuff, with a scrape between each, then all scaped back to bare wood with a sharp scraper followed by a light sanding did the job. Trying to scrape the surface without nitromors first just blunted the scraper.

    If you have slack screws do not use cocktail sticks to fill the holes as some people recomend...they are far to hard. Use bits of old match sticks as they will conform to the original hole just like old fibre rawlplugs did before modern plastic ones, they will also not pull your screws off track, and are surprising tough being fibrous. A small blob of white wood glue (PVA) on the end will assist.

    If your slide is lose, ie the clamp knob has worn down the side, then i planed mine flat and re-veneered the side and it is as good as new again.

    Bruce

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