- Antique and Vintage Cameras

Universal and Square Reflector Serial Numbers

These data cover the Universal and Square Reflector models.

Click on the graph to display an interactive version in a new window.

The graph above plots camera serial numbers against lens numbers. Most of the data comes from sales catalogues and similar sources and, of course, may suffer from transcription and other errors. The lens scales should not be compared one to another as they do not reflect the different rates of production of the lens makers.

Until the introduction of the Square Reflector, lens numbers increased roughly in line with camera numbers. From then the picture is less clear, some models were fitted with newly purchased lenses (SR2190 at the top of the graph is fitted with a Tessar from around 1912) others, it appears, were fitted with lenses that had been in stock for some years.

Camera production increased with the introduction of the Special B in 1895, from then few model Bs were made. Photographers were switching to other types of camera by the start of the 1900s and Special B production declined. An updated Universal, the De Luxe introduced in 1905, sold in very few numbers. The Square Reflector sold well until the start of the first world war, by then much cheaper models were available and the Soho was especially popular at the high-quality end.

Universal / Square Reflector Numbering
All of the Universals and the Square Reflector shared a common numbering series. The models are distinguished by a letter prefix of:
  • A, B, C.
  • S - Stereo. SS - Special Stereo (Special B version with dividing lens).
  • SH - Half-Plate.
  • SB - Special B.
  • T - Twin Lens Reflex. ST - Special Twin Lens Reflex (Special B version with dividing lens).
  • HS - High Speed. SHS - High Speed with dividing lens.
  • DL - De Luxe.
  • R - Self-Focusing Reflex.
  • SR - Square Reflector.
  • SRDL - Two-Shutter Reflex de-Luxe.

One camera - B262 - has a Special B specification and can be dated to 1895, possibly a few Special Bs were produced with the B prefix. Two very early Twin Lens cameras have no letter prefix.

Changing Box Patents
The changing boxes carry none, one or two patent numbers. The earliest have the patent date of 1886, later the dates are for 1886 and 1892. The 1886 patent would have lapsed around 1900 and from about that time the boxes had only the 1892 patent date, the 1892 patent lapsed around 1906 and from soon after this date the boxes have no patent numbers.

Production Numbers
From their introduction in 1892 to around 1914 around 2300 Universal and Square Reflector cameras were produced. As the models overlap in time it is difficult to be accurate about production numbers of each model. It appears that around 260 cameras, mostly models A and B, were made prior to the introduction of the Special B in 1895. Between 1895 and 1908 (the last recorded Special B number of 1982) a further 1722 cameras were produced. Taking the numbers of recorded cameras as a guide to total production gives production figures for the period 1895 to 1909 of:
  • B, 193. (And a proportion of the 260 made prior to 1895).
  • Special B, 890. (Plus a small number made after 1909).
  • Square Reflector, 232.
  • The rest (Stereo, High-Speed, Twin-lens etc), 406.
  • From 1909 roughly a further 318 Square Reflectors were produced.

Universal A

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
887323WrayC/box 474 Plateholders marked "patent", glass focus screen
A23717938WrayC 26/5/83, 211Later Lustrar lens
A2639317Wray1895Standard

Universal B

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
B256264WrayC 9/5/91, 14971 Farringdon Rd.
B386523Wray1892C 9/5/91, 151
536719Wray71 Farringdon Rd. With box 329.
B161
B1756444WrayC 18/11/03, 819; C 11/3/03, 409
B181C 10/11/88, 108
B254Phot. World
B302Small size
B308C 17/2/04, 273. C 16/11/04, 32992 Shaftesbury
B3178803Wray1896C 14/3/91, 168; P 23/3/83, 109Presentation model in Pigskin d. 1896. 92 Shaftesbury Av
B3508800WrayC 20/7/95, 499
B459C 11/4/85, 300; C 19/9/85, 296
B51516517ZeissWith lens 16516, Boxes 1554-7. 92 Shaft
B55623257Zeiss1897Universal B
B56223253Zeiss92 Shaftesbury.
B81129477ZeissC 15/3/84, 3; S 19/5/83, 265Lens supplied 9/1898
B81429482ZeissLens supplied 9/1898
B9264428TTHC 14/9/89, 271
B97734763ZeissC 11/12/02, 53Lens supplied 6/1899
B10445442TTHC 9/5/91, 151
B11706818TTHC 14/2/06, 335
B1372
B160760915Zeiss1903Tessar lens d. 1903
B177360919ZeissC 9/5/91, 153Lens d. 1903
B1775Dinesh Parekh
B1805ZeissTessar

Universal C

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
C127C 18/8/83, 17592 Shaftesbury
C305C 1/12/83, 46092 Shaftesbury

Universal Special B

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
B23513196Zeiss4 x 5". Round spirit levels. 3 iris scales. Index plate has B, 5 x 4, Z, S
B2622417Ross-Zeiss1895Universal Special B
SB31313921ZeissTeamworkLens d. 1895
SB3611896C 15/10/81, 200'T' level
SB395181651ZeissC 29/9/88, 376Tan leather. Prop to door. Wide-angle rack. Lens supplied c. 1913
SB39717877ZeissWith lens 17827. 92 Shaftesbury
SB40217881ZeissC 27/7/89, 345Lens supplied 9/1896
SB44617916ZeissC 17/7/01, 397Lens supplied 9/1896
SB48119478Ross-ZeissC 15/7/99, 260
SB54821682ZeissC 21/6/84, 34
SB58420233Zeiss
SB59724135ZeissC 19/9/91, 266Lens d. 1897
SB62624628ZeissC 20/7/95, 241; 13/1/83, 972 focus. 4" x 5". Lens supplied 11/1897
SB62823172ZeissC 24/11/94, 309Lens supplied 8/1897
SB69724362ZeissC 10/11/88, 130Lens supplied 11/1897
SB75426279ZeissC 14/1/82, 269; 15/10/81, 114'T' levels. Lens supplied 3/1898
SB755
SB7864914Ross-ZeissC 11/12/02, 52
SB79226726Zeiss1898Universal Special B
SB87129766ZeissWith lens 29767. Brown finish. 90-92 Shaft.
SB891Ross-ZeissLens supplied 12/1898
SB935C 17/7/01, 398
SB956Sector3 ¼" x 2 ⅜" camera. Lens supplied 6/1898
SB958WestLicht 5/2015
SB100231538ZeissP 23/3/83, 120Lens supplied 12/1898
SB1025Oxford Sci. Mus.
SB10807189Ross-ZeissBonhams 12/5/09, 522With lens 7192. Bayonet mount
SB1082TTH lens
SB111738729ZeissC 10/9/92, 415; 14/1/93, 419Lens supplied 1/1900
SB115336456ZeissC 14/10/82, 248; 8/7/82, 176Lens d. 1899
SB1182C 14/1/82, 732 focus. magnalium lens mount
SB1183ZeissSAS 23/10/14
SB12047203Ross-ZeissBonhams 23/7/92, 476
SB122240372Zeiss5 x 4
SB124039501ZeissWith lens 20085. Magnalium fittings
SB12427894Ross-ZeissUniversal Special B
SB1276Phot. WorldAlu. fittings and index plate. Magnalium lens mount. Rising front markings
SB128344947Zeiss5 x 4. With box 3174
SB128544934Zeiss5 x 4
SB131044714ZeissTheft from N&G mid 1908Back lens 44428. Lens d. 1900
SB1321P 9/11/88, 35De luxe red leather finish
SB1325129358ZeissWestLicht 12/20103 ¼ x 2 ⅜"
SB1338C 16/1/86, 91
SB134945728ZeissC 13/7/00, 358Lens d. 1900
SB1353C 11/4/85, 295
SB13649427Ross-Zeiss
SB141150812ZeissC 12/3/92, 126Lens supplied 8/1901
SB144710443Ross-ZeissC 3/3/83, 4
SB1451C 14/7/88, 369
SB150258833Zeiss1902C 18/8/83, 96Lens supplied 1902
SB151155416ZeissP 9/11/88, 29Lens d. 1902
SB151757207ZeissC 19/3/87, 339
SB156856557ZeissC 7/7/83, 25
SB162811139Ross-ZeissS 20/11/81, 384Magnalium mount. 2 focus.
SB1688C 24/4/86, 26
SB178873513Zeiss1905C 21/2/85, 6; C 2/85Or SB1780
SB1848VintageLate model with magnalium lens mount
SB186076579ZeissTeamwork
SB1880C 21/8/86, 157
SB196481383ZeissBack lens 81384. 2 focus. Marked on shutter plate Special B D.P.
SB198282156ZeissC 28/3/07, 418

Universal Half-Plate

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
SH84627308ZeissC 29/1/98, 465Lens supplied 5/1898
SH84727312Zeiss
SH93353522ZeissBonhams 12/5/09, 557
SH149311011Ross-ZeissC 14/1/93, 173
SH150860195ZeissC 18/8/83, 146; C 26/1/84, 219

Universal High-Speed

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
HS938From a Universal High-Speed
HS947C 9/5/91, 150
HS95728379ZeissC 17/3/88, 120
128643770ZeissUnar
SHS1369C 17/7/01, 387
SHS1498Zeiss
HS175065608ZeissC Travel Sale used by Eric Stewart MarshallPlanar lens. Lens d. 1903
HS184651822ZeissC 2/9/93, 569Unar lens. Lens supplied c. 1901

Universal De Luxe

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
DL16441905C 10/1/91, 241; C 13/8/81, 154
DL192176983ZeissDe Luxe

Universal Stereo

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
S191Stereoscopic
S25767665ZeissC 20/4/95, 353With lens 67678. Lens supplied 1904
S363C 10/11/88, 251
S381C 29/1/98, 372
SS462SAS 11/2013
S577SAS 23/10/2014
SS66226052ZeissC 11/12/02, 54Lens supplied 2/1898
S8893695TTHCooke series III 5.15"

Universal Twin Lens

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
206442WrayBack lens 6441
T218131WrayC 14/11/91, 291Sector shutter
276177WrayC 10/11/88, 12371 Farringdon Rd. Back lens 6178
T600
T621
T711Zeiss
ST82328987ZeissWith lens 28571. 90-92 Shaft.
ST85128997ZeissWith box 2197
ST107335488ZeissSpecial Twin LensLens supplied 1899

Self-Focusing Reflex

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
R1414
R1461
R154260133Zeiss
R155760312Zeiss1903Self-Focusing Reflex
R1585
LR1626
LR1670Breker 3/2015

Square Reflector

No.LensDateSource (C = Christie, P = Phillips, S = Sotheby)
SR166568531Zeiss1904C 15/5/06, 285Early type hood. Protar 67976/68531
SR170669970ZeissWith lens 69976. New type hood
SR170768530ZeissC 26/5/83, 189
SR170969972Zeiss1904Square Reflector
SR174365492ZeissVintageNew type hood
SR177172535ZeissEarly hood with fold down section. Shutter release plate has number 141
SR1802C 8/4/82, 300Early type hood, Tessar lens
SR183891868ZeissC 14/11/91, 225Early hood with fold down section. Tessar lens supplied 1907
SR185775309ZeissS 19/10/82, 181, S 19/10/82, 181Or SR1851. Early type hood, Tessar lens
SR1902C 23/6/76, 149
SR193483135Zeiss1906C 11/12/02, 49Early hood without fold down section. Protar.

Doc. with camera d. 6/1906 (Phot. World 64 p.38)
SR194983225ZeissTheft from N&G mid 1908Protar Back lens 83232
SR201486663ZeissWith lens 90837. Early type hood
SR203065462ZeissC 9/5/91, 152Early type hood with fold down section. Protar
SR2042101695ZeissWith box 4373. Protar
SR2051101704Zeiss1908Theft from N&G mid 1908Protar. Back lens 101701
SR2073
SR2075ZeissC 17/7/01, 395
SR2079ZeissC 17/7/01, 395
SR2127C 21/7/94, 225
SR2135129356ZeissC 16/3/95, 303New type hood. Lens supplied c. 1910
SR2137129351ZeissBJP 28/4/1911, p. 326Lost in 1911
SR214579376ZeissC 4/7/81, 293; 15/3/90, 112; 10/9/81, 267New style hood. Protar supplied 1906
SR2173Lost in 1911
SRDL2181117830ZeissC 17/7/01, 396Lens supplied 1909
SRDL2183116467Zeiss1911Two Shutter Reflex
SR2190176777Zeiss1913C 21/5/81, 291Tessar
SR223656575ZeissVintageNew type hood
SR2262116469Zeiss1914Square ReflectorLens supplied 1909
SR2272721559ZeissLens replaced

N&G Early Sibyl

N&G Later Sibyl

Universal, Square Reflector

N&G Folding Reflex

N&G Nydia N&G Trellis

Adams

Sanderson

Dallmeyer

Houghton (Ensign, H-B)

Soho Kershaw

Thornton-Pickard

Luzo

Rolleiflex Rolleicord

Contessa-Nettel Ica

Voigtländer Zeiss-Ikon

Newman Sinclair Reflex

Frena

Periflex Wrayflex

Lenses -
Ross Dallmeyer

TTH Wray Beck Aldis

Ross-Zeiss Ross-Goerz

Carl Zeiss Goerz Meyer

Voigtländer

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