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Thread: Deardorff Identification Help

  1. #1

    Deardorff Identification Help

    I picked up a great V11 recently that very certain is a Deardorff Field camera but I'm having a bit of trouble confirming such. The problem is that there is absolutely no Deardorff branding anywhere on the camera. I know that many of the V11 cameras say Deardorff on the lensboard slide, on a badge on the front bed, on the rear film back, or on the bottom base plate. Mine has none of these. It also has a large metal handle on top instead of the usual leather handle. It does however have "V11 B 1" stamped in the metal of the frame under the rear film back. I have heard that there were early models of the V11 that were made for the government, but I can't find any information online to confirm any of this. If anyone here has any info at all on this camera, I would really appreciate you sharing it.
    Much Thanks

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Deardorff-02.jpg   Deardorff-02-2.jpg   Deardorff-04-2.jpg   Deardorff-05-2.jpg   Deardorff-01-2.jpg  


  2. #2

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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    I once did come across a similar camera to yours. Also no Deardorff branding or letters or numbers anywhere. Baseplate was pain with the Deardorff lettering. An "expert" on Dearforff cameras told me it was in fact a Deardorff, but one just put together from parts, and the blank baseplate was an after market replacement plate. Price was too good to pass up on so I bought it. That "no branded" camera served me well for years replacing a Burke & James Commercial view camera.

  3. #3
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    Looks completely legit to me, with some aftermarket modifications to the rear frame. All the castings look right, as does the finish and everything else about it. They often used older style parts to use them up, so they don't always adhere so rigidly to "such and such style knobs after a certain date" etc. Maybe you can share some photos of the right side and the bed?
    Earlier cameras sometimes had a rectangular nameplate, or a decal, or nothing at all saying "Deardorff". Later on, the "top strip" lensboard cleat had the Deardorff name and serial number.

    I've seen several late 30's V5s and V8s with dates stamped in the rear turntable casting, but more without than with.
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  4. #4

    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Storer View Post
    Looks completely legit to me, with some aftermarket modifications to the rear frame. All the castings look right, as does the finish and everything else about it. They often used older style parts to use them up, so they don't always adhere so rigidly to "such and such style knobs after a certain date" etc. Maybe you can share some photos of the right side and the bed?
    Earlier cameras sometimes had a rectangular nameplate, or a decal, or nothing at all saying "Deardorff". Later on, the "top strip" lensboard cleat had the Deardorff name and serial number.

    I've seen several late 30's V5s and V8s with dates stamped in the rear turntable casting, but more without than with.
    Here's a few more photos of the sides, top, and bottom.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    My 8x0 Deardorff has no branding on it anywhere, but its obviously a Deardorff. I was told that some of the earliest ones had no name plates, etc. on them. I was also told that these very early ones were made using recycled mahogany from local saloons, shut down during prohibition. The person who sold me mine expressed a belief that mine was one of those cameras.

  6. #6
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    I shared some of the photos with Ken H. He says pure MC11, Marine Corps camera, including the back latches, he says they did a few cameras like that post WWI, MAYBE war time.
    The additional pins on the bed engaged the top of a Crown tripod to prevent the camera rotating.

    The "field" of the bed MAY be Marine Plywood with solid Mahogany edges, Ken has never had to take one apart. it is probably a WWII or slightly later camera. None of their other field cameras has front swing yet either, not until 1950.
    Last edited by Tracy Storer; 16-Jul-2022 at 12:45. Reason: Adding details...
    Tracy Storer
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    www.mammothcamera.com

  7. #7

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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    My 8x0 Deardorff has no branding on it anywhere, but its obviously a Deardorff. I was told that some of the earliest ones had no name plates, etc. on them. I was also told that these very early ones were made using recycled mahogany from local saloons, shut down during prohibition. The person who sold me mine expressed a belief that mine was one of those cameras.
    Basically same with 4x5 Baby Deardorff- it has some faded original lettering and the original patina. Most Deardorffs probably were refinished at least once and the lettering was lost.

  8. #8
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    I personally don't think "Most Deardorffs probably were refinished at least once", but I do know that the waterslide decals often put on the right side of the cameras frequently degrade and flake off.

    Quote Originally Posted by domaz View Post
    Basically same with 4x5 Baby Deardorff- it has some faded original lettering and the original patina. Most Deardorffs probably were refinished at least once and the lettering was lost.
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  9. #9
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    Most of Kens old website is available on the web archive.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20190330...as.0catch.com/
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  10. #10

    Re: Deardorff Identification Help

    It is good to get the scoop on this from Ken. I was really baffled by the bed since it looked original, but like no Deardorff I've ever seen.

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