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Thread: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

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    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    In a big old tarnished leather case came what supposed to be a camera made by the Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera. As such it wasn't usable anymore: some broken parts were loose in the box, further the bellows were very dry and in some places loose on the seam and had stains of moisture. One little screw and one washer were missing - not bad for such an old parts cam...



    Restoring meant the following:
    1. re-gluing some of the wooden parts, some parts were broken, other only loose;
    2. fix a broken shaft; since there might be force on the shaft, I had to secure it to its base with with a screw;
    3. cleaning the bellows, re-gluing the seam on some places;
    4. treating the bellows with two layers conditioner to rejuvenate the leather (luckily this camera came with real leather bellows which made restoration easier);
    5. some of the brass hardware was very tarnished, therefore I buffed them up;
    6. cleaning the old ground glass (thickness is only 1 mm) - and before that, sanding off its sharp edges.







    Although it is an Eastman camera, this one is undoubtedly made in Britain and not in the USA: according to the makers plate it was made and/or sold at 115 Oxfordstreet London by "THE EASTMAN DRY PLATE & FILM Co."
    Any additional info on this camera or on its makers is much appreciated.
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    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    ..and another picture of some wood re-gluing ..



    The camera came with its three very beautiful double wooden film plate-holders which needed only a little cleaning.
    The camera came without a lens, so I have to seek for one which will cover this plate-size (f 250-300mm should be adequate as a standard lens).




    ...the makers plate:

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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    How wonderful! good luck with the rebuild/restoration

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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    Channing & Dunn give this Oxford Street address as being from 1890 - their first address was in Soho Square in 1885.
    They say that UK production began in the 20th century - but by then they had moved to other addresses!

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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    It will be a beauty when it's done! No doubt it will give you wonderful photographs too.

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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    [QUOTE=Ron (Netherlands);
    Although it is an Eastman camera, this one is undoubtedly made in Britain and not in the USA: according to the makers plate it was made and/or sold at 115 Oxfordstreet London by "THE EASTMAN DRY PLATE & FILM Co."
    Any additional info on this camera or on its makers is much appreciated.[/QUOTE]

    As I hinted at in a previous note, this is not UK made - but a product of Rochester USA!
    Eastman were extremely aggressive in buying up all the small makers of field cameras in Rochester and basically removed the original labels and put their badges on them. If you start at Vaubel's summary here...

    http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/ekc.htm

    ...you might be able to identify the origin of your "Eastman"!

    They do have a lot of similar features, though!

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    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    As I hinted at in a previous note, this is not UK made - but a product of Rochester USA!
    Eastman were extremely aggressive in buying up all the small makers of field cameras in Rochester and basically removed the original labels and put their badges on them. If you start at Vaubel's summary here...

    http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/ekc.htm

    ...you might be able to identify the origin of your "Eastman"!

    They do have a lot of similar features, though!
    Thank you Steven, ...already had a look at the pierevaubel link - very informative about the early produced US camera's.

    However at closer look and comparison the Rochester camera's shown in the link may give rise to more questions.
    First the camera under restoration misses a feature that almost all of these Rochester camera's are sporting: a so-called spring back.
    Next the US camera's do not seem to have a circular brass tripod base and no front panel locking devise which resembles Rayments patent.
    Also the wood and finish used seems to be different: the camera in question is made of french polished mahogany whereas most of the Rochester cameras seem to be made of a little softer woods which have a light or dark stained finish - the difference becomes clear when looking at little damages in the wood.
    Further the plateholders that came with the camera do not resemble other US made plateholders but resemble British made holders.

    One can indeed assume that the camera under restoration was built before 1890, since thereafter the KODAK name came into use.

    Wouldn't it have been more practical (easier) for Eastman to contract (or buy) one of the many British camera makers, to have some camera's built for them at British specs than to have them built at Rochester and shipped to Europe ..facing import duties and other costs?



    < edit: Additional info which might give a clue about the production: in the brass circular tripod mount a patent date has been stamped, which reads: "patent 3/9/84" >
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    Re: Eastman Dry Plate & Film Co camera - restoration

    I agree with just about all your points - but there some models that approach the typical UK style field cameras.
    UK book plate holders could have been adopted to follow the UK tradition.

    However, I think you are right about there being a UK supplier of this model - in spite of Eastman having a lot of Rochester companies to keep busy!

    IF so, then I don't think anyone has discovered it before now.

    The brass base attachment for a tripod is a 1885 (No. 5965) Patent by E. and TP Underwood of Birmingham who made a lot of cameras in the late 1880's. Earlyphotography.co.uk has more data.

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