Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    62

    Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    I see lots of information regarding patching and repairing old bellows. Does anyone have any idea what these were originally made of? Definitely not leather, but an impregnated cloth?

    "Keratol is one of the more popular prewar trade names for imitation leather. There were others. Believe it or not it's celluloid combined with linseed oil, applied to fabric, and a pattern then embossed with a roller. This stuff was developed in the latter half of the 1800's and used for suitcases, buggy tops, furniture, instrument cases, etc. In the 1950's it was gradually replaced by equivalent products made of vinyl on fabric."

    "Fabrikoid was an imitation leather manufactured by DuPont.
    Fabrikoid consists of cotton cloth coated with nitrocellulose. Among other uses it has been used for luggage, bookbinding, upholstery and dress trimmings. By the 1920s Fabrikoid was used heavily in both automobile seat covers and the tops of covertible automobiles.[1] Some of the early experienments on its uses in upholstery were conducted by Gilbert Rohde."

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,043

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Definitely leather in the Kodak 2D's that I'm currently working on, not owning one I would guess that Century Studio cameras were leather also.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Carmel Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,047

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Fabrikoid is tough stuff... don't know what your Century Studio used originally, but the two 60 year old Meridians I've had came with light-tight, original and unpatched Fabrikoid bellows.
    Being a nitrocellulose product, it seems to get a bit more scrutiny at TSA when explosives sniffed(?)

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    62

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    My 10A and 8A are not leather {I wish! as this would be easy to repair and "moisturize"} The material is flaking off on the folds and you can see the cotton weave of the fabric. I wish I new how flexible they were when they were new. I would guess that they were still pretty stiff as the lamination of fabrics over the cardboard stays is still very stiff. You rarely see period photographs where these bellows are sagging.

    I am tempted to try a small amount of Linseed Oil (Not boiled - as it has drying agents ) and see if it will stop the flaking.

    Thanks for your input!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    62

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan J. Eberle View Post
    Fabrikoid is tough stuff... don't know what your Century Studio used originally, but the two 60 year old Meridians I've had came with light-tight, original and unpatched Fabrikoid bellows.
    Being a nitrocellulose product, it seems to get a bit more scrutiny at TSA when explosives sniffed(?)
    So was Fabrikoid spec'd in the literature by Meridian? I just mentioned these fabrics Fabrikoid and Keratol as being period substitutes for Leather to get the conversation started. Perhaps the serious collectors in this community might have info on construction specifications of the day.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,043

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Your bellows may have been replaced at one point it's long life, Ivan makes a good point about nitrocellulose,
    old film stocks ( nitrate film ) were of nitrocellulose and they become unstable as they age, and are extremely flammable
    the Fabrikoid material might not be the same formula.

    But if they were a nitrocellulose type fabric there should be a huge shortage of Century Studio cameras especially when flash powder came into use

    Bellows have two layers of material, the outer, which could be leather or some other material, and the inner lining which is rubberized
    cloth, both paper thin and of course the stiffening ribs which would make three if you count them too.
    The weave you're seeing is likely the inner bellows fabric.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    62

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    http://www2.dupont.com/Phoenix_Herit...10_detail.html

    Interesting read.

    i am second owner of the 8A the 10A who knows!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    26

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Hi,

    I have a number 8 Century studio camera. Huge beast.... The bellows seem to be what I think is called Mackintosh cloth. It is a rubberised fabric - not very thin by bellows standards but it works here because the camera s so big. The rubber layer is on the outside of the outer fabric. The inner liner seems to be simple cotton fabric. I don't know if these are the original bellows, but they certainly look very old and have square corners. I can't see any evidence of replacement on the front or rear standards (although that might just mean whoever replaced them did a professional job). They had a few pin holes and cracks, but were successfully restored to being light roof with a couple of coats of diluted acrylic paint on the inside (I wasn't sure anything would stick to the rubber outer).

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    62

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by steven_e007 View Post
    Hi,

    I have a number 8 Century studio camera. Huge beast.... The bellows seem to be what I think is called Mackintosh cloth. It is a rubberised fabric - not very thin by bellows standards but it works here because the camera s so big. The rubber layer is on the outside of the outer fabric. The inner liner seems to be simple cotton fabric. I don't know if these are the original bellows, but they certainly look very old and have square corners. I can't see any evidence of replacement on the front or rear standards (although that might just mean whoever replaced them did a professional job). They had a few pin holes and cracks, but were successfully restored to being light roof with a couple of coats of diluted acrylic paint on the inside (I wasn't sure anything would stick to the rubber outer).

    My Bellows are original and are exactly as you described a coated exterior and a plain cotton interior (faded to a grey) - although I would hate to call the exterior coating a rubber, because it is anything but flexible! - My camera's owner was a husband /wife team that ran a portrait studio. They moved to a larger town and put the camera in an attic for 20 years - The temperature swings were not kind to the bellows or the varnish. - It was an amazing find as I have everything that was originally supplied except for the wing kits - even the "Sterling" 11x14 film holder.

  10. #10
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    local
    Posts
    4,031

    Re: Century Studio Camera Bellows Material Question.

    hi there,

    i have an 8a as well, and mine are sort of like cardboard ( not sure what it is )
    and the corners had been "repaired" with black cloth ..
    enjoy your coffee

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 24
    Last Post: 4-Oct-2013, 12:04
  2. Kodak Century Studio 9A + Sliding carriage : question
    By galactic.surfeur in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 22-Sep-2013, 11:56
  3. Century Studio 4A question
    By dsphotog in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 6-Mar-2012, 21:13
  4. Bellows material for FS 7x17 - sourcing question
    By Robert Edward McClure in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 20-Oct-2009, 11:30

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •