Ensignette No 1 - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Ensignette No 1

1909

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f11, achromatic meniscus. Sector stops f11, f16, f22.

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, T and I settings.

Construction:
Black painted brass body, leather unpleated bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder for landscape only.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Serial Number:
9867 .

Notes:
This is the original specification of the Ensignette.

With:
Pouch.

Ensignette No 1

Nickel Plated Finish

c. 1911

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f11, achromatic meniscus. Sector stops f11, f16, f22.

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, T and I settings.

Construction:
Nickel finish with red bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder for landscape only.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Version with embossed end tabs.

Serial Number:
H594 .

With:
Red leather case.

Further Information:
An identical model with red bellows has the serial no. H975; a model with black bellows and a focusing Cooke lens has the number 4320.

Ensignette No 1

Gilt Finish

c. 1913

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f6.8, 7.5 cm Zeiss Tessar, sector stops of f6.8, f11, f22. Serial no. 168231 (c. 1912).

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, T and I settings.

Construction:
Gilt finish with black bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
To 7 feet.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder for landscape only.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Version with embossed end tabs.

Serial Number:
A6956 .

With:
Brown leather case.

Further Information:
Other known gilt models in the smaller size have green or black bellows and an early size 1 with plain end tabs has red bellows. The gilt finish extends to the inside of the shutter housing.

Ensignette No 1

Model 1z

1911

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f6.8, 7.5 cm Zeiss Tessar, sector stops of f6.8, f11, f22. Serial no. 168181 (c. 1912).

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, T and I settings.

Construction:
Black painted brass body, leather unpleated bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
To 7 feet.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder for landscape only.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Version with embossed end tabs, "Anastigmat Ensignette" on left tab.

Serial Number:
A6592 .

Notes:
This model was sold from 1911 to around 1915. The case is velvet lined.

With:
Direct-vision optical view-finder, negative lens only without pointer. Roll of E1 film. Case.

Ensignette No 1

Version of c. 1915

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f11, achromatic meniscus, sector stops f11, f16, f22.

Shutter:
I, T, B shutter.

Construction:
Black painted brass body, leather unpleated bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder for landscape only.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
This version is very similar to the original No. 1. It has the improved shutter introduced around 1915 and sector stops set via a ring surrounding the lens. Version with embossed end tabs

Serial Number:
P18441 .

With:
Direct-vision optical view-finder, negative lens only without pointer. Case.

Ensignette No 1

Aluminium Version

1920

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f8, Rapid Rectilinear, iris diaphragm to f32.

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, spring powered, speeds 1/20, 1/40, 1/60, B, T.

Construction:
Black painted aluminium body, leather unpleated bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder swivels for portrait or landscape.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
This version has an aluminium body with corrugations on the back, elliptical bulges on the end tabs and swivelling finder.

Serial Number:
1127 .

Notes:
Marked with patent numbers of 28646 1907 and 10516 1920 Prov.

With:

  • Instruction book.
  • Case. Box. The serial numbers of the camera is written on the box.

Ensignette No 1

Aluminium Version

1920

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensignette No 1

Lens:
f7.7, T.T.H. Luxor Anastigmat, iris diaphragm to f32. Serial no. 98490 .

Shutter:
Pivoted two-blade return, spring powered, speeds 1/20, 1/40, 1/60, B, T.

Construction:
Black painted aluminium body, leather unpleated bellows.

Format:
6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on paper-backed roll-film, Ensign E1 size.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder swivels for portrait or landscape.
Film advance indicated by red window, not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
This version has an aluminium body with corrugations on the back, elliptical bulges on the end tabs and swivelling finder.

Serial Number:
3235 .

With:

  • Instruction book. Ensign Handbook of Photography, 1922.
  • Portrait lenses in pouch. 3, 6, 10 feet.
  • Box. The serial numbers of the camera and lens are written on the box.

The Ensignette was introduced in 1909 for 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on special size roll-film. In form it is similar to the earlier Block-Notes (1902) but differs in using roll-film rather than plates. It is an early example of a miniature bellows, roll-film camera, a type which was to become popular with the introduction of the V.P.K. from Eastman (1912).

The camera was designed by Magnus Nièll. For its size it took large images, a point emphasised in advertisements along with the advantages of roll-film over plates. The Ensignette proved very popular, a number of different models were produced and in 1912 a larger version for 2" x 3" exposures was introduced.

The earliest cameras were made of brass with leather bellows (unpleated in the case of the smaller size). The finish was black with nickel fittings. For a few years prior to World War I a nickel plated model with red leather bellows was sold in each size (with a matching red leather case). From 1920 the camera body was made of aluminium. There were also slight constructional differences, notably the camera back was corrugated, necessary with the more pliable aluminium.

A Vest Pocket size for 1 ⅝" x 2 ½" exposures on 1J (127) roll-film was introduced in 1923, three years later production of the other sizes ceased, the VP model lasted a few more years.

Two other cameras with the Ensignette name were produced: Ensignette Junior (1913) and the Popular Ensignette (1922). These were strut type roll-film cameras for 2 ¼" x 3 ¼" exposures but do not resemble the smaller models.

Ensignette Models

No 1
For 6, 1 ½" x 2 ¼" exposures on E1 size roll-film. Introduced in 1909. Eastman produced 128 film for this camera in 1913.

No 2
For 6, 2" x 3" exposures on E2 roll-film. Introduced in 1912. Eastman produced 129 film for this camera in 1913.

De-Luxe
A model 2 with a higher quality shutter.

Vest Pocket Ensign
Similar to a model 2 but uses the standard 127 size roll-film. Introduced in 1923.

No. 1 Nickel plated finish
Usually fitted with red bellows. c. 1912.

No. 2 Nickel plated finish
c. 1912.

No. 1 Gilt finish

No. 2 Gilt finish

Variations

  • The end tabs of the early model No 1 are plain. From around 1911 an embossed flag logo was added to the right-hand tab and patent details to the left-hand tab.
  • Aluminium body from 1920. The back of the camera is corrugated, there are elliptical bulges on the end tabs, a swivelling finder is present on the No. 1 as well as the No. 2. A speeded shutter is fitted to the simple models.

Accessories

  • Swivelling direct-vision finder for fitting to the front plate, introduced around 1910.
  • Printing box for postcard size prints.
  • Daylight developing tank.
  • Portrait attachments, set of 3.
  • Tripod attachment.
  • Lady's suede bag.
  • Lady's Morocco wrist bag.
  • Solid leather case, black, brown or pigskin.

References & Notes:
BP 157037/1921 (Lens). BP 28464/1907. BP 14489/1908. BP 165575/1920. BJA 1910, pp. 294, 688. BJA 1911, p. 297. BJA 1912, pp. 318, 746. BJA 1915, pp. 213, 568, 566. BJA 1917, p. 156. BJA 1921, p. 155. BJA 1922, pp. 165, 650. AP 29/3/1910, pp. xvi, supplement. Ensign Handbook.

Further Information:
Lothrop, Century, p.117.

Illustrations:
Christie's Cat. 9/11/1989 lot 108. 3" x 2" presentation model no. 2892 with a label on the box: 'P/A1235/1/2/12'.


Company Details:

Houghton

Scénographe

Shew Eclipse

Xit

Focal Plane Xit

Stereo Xit

Euxit

Idento

Tropical Idento

Dallmeyer Strut Camera

Folding Frena

Tylar's Pocket Tit-Bit

Jeffrey & Wishart's Patent

Adams Vesta

Nydia

Natti

Pocket Cyko No 1

Ensign Focal Plane Camera

Goerz Anschütz

Goerz Anschütz

Ernemann Tropical Klapp

Block-Notes

Vest Pocket Tenax

Lilliput

Klippa

Ensignette No 1

Ensignette No 2

Vest Pocket Ensign

Ensignette Junior No. 2J

Popular Ensignette

Rajar No. 6

No. 2 Hawkette

Cadet Model B

Ensign Midget

Double-8

Welta Gucki

Foth Derby

Dallmeyer Snapshot

Tropical Deckrullo

Makina

Makina II

Jiffy Kodak V.P.

Elvo