Facile - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Facile

1889

J. Fallowfield

London

England

Image of Facile

Lens:
f8, 5 ½" rapid rectilinear, wheel stops of f8, f11, f16, f22.

Shutter:
Sector, not self-capping, hand operated blade to cut off light while setting shutter.

Construction:
Polished mahogany.

Format:
12, 3 ¼" x 4 ¼" plates held in internal changing mechanism. Plates are held in sheaths marked "Miall's Perfected Sheaths, Patent".

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Reflecting view-finder, sheath attached to view-finder covers lens when not in use. Exposure counter.

Serial Number:
504 .

Notes:
Address on camera: Fallowfield's FACILE. 146 Charing X Road. (1890 - 1923).

With:
5 sheaths. Leather handle marked FACILE.

A very popular detective camera based on Miall's patent of 1889 which remained on sale until the early 1900s.

The Facile is rather large as one changing box is filled as the other is emptied, so twice the space is used. Advertisements suggest that the camera, if wrapped in brown paper, would resemble a parcel of books, Fallowfield also sold leather and canvas cases for concealment. The camera was advertised only in the quarter-plate size. Fitted with either a 5" Rapid Landscape or Rapid Rectilinear lens. The price was £5.5.0 in 1891.

Minor variations exist:

  • Early models were optionally not fitted with a view-finder.
  • Usually a single finder is fitted for landscape format. Some have a second for portrait format.
  • A sheath is fitted to some models which covers the lens and finder openings, when the finder lid is raised the sheath is also raised.
  • Leather covering was an option.

Later a focusing Facile was introduced this may have had a different mechanism as it took 12 plates or 24 cut-films without holders which could be exposed in any order. It was fitted with a shutter having speeds of 1 - 1/100, some advertisements say the shutter was by N&G.

In his book, Victorian Snapshots, Paul Martin describes using a Facile and how he was able to adjust the focus by operating the changing mechanism.

References & Notes:
BP 939/1889 (similar camera). BP 19770/1889. BP 4131/1889. PA 1891, p. 296. BJA 1890, p. 243. BJA 1900, p. 201.

Illustrations:
Permutt, Collecting Old Cameras, p.91 (two finder model).


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