Ensign Cupid - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Ensign Cupid

1922

Houghtons Ltd

London

England

Image of Ensign Cupid

Lens:
c. f14, c. 70 mm meniscus (aperture is around f6 but stopped down to the working aperture of f14).

Shutter:
Guillotine of two vertically sliding plates working in front of lens, spring powered, T & I settings. Self-capping.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
2 " x 1 " exposures on 120 roll-film.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Frame finder.
Film advance indicated by two red windows. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Early version with only one patent number, smooth paint finish.

With:
Brilliant clip-on view-finder in orange box (priced 4/-). Canvas case.

Ensign Cupid

Image of Ensign Cupid

Lens:
c. f14, c. 70 mm meniscus (aperture is around f6 but stopped down to the working aperture of f14).

Shutter:
Guillotine of two vertically sliding plates working in front of lens, spring powered, T & I settings. Self-capping.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
2 " x 1 " exposures on 120 roll-film.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Frame finder.
Film advance indicated by two red windows. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Later version with two patent numbers, crackle paint finish.

With:
Brilliant clip-on view-finder in orange box.

Ensign Cupid

Image of Ensign Cupid

Lens:
Missing.

Shutter:
Guillotine of two vertically sliding plates working in front of lens, spring powered, T & I settings. Self-capping.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
2 " x 1 " exposures on 120 roll-film.

Focusing:
Fixed.

Attributes:
Frame finder.
Film advance indicated by two red windows. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Later version with two patent numbers, crackle paint finish. Made of brass.

The Cupid is an all metal camera of roughly 'T' section. It was produced for a few years from 1922 and did not long survive the full merger of Houghton and Butcher. The Cupid was the first to use the 'double window' arrangement for doubling the number of exposures on a roll. The price was 18/6.

Early versions have the provisional patent (4312) on the front panel, then the full number, later a second was added covering a different shutter arrangement (BP 207637). The script 'Ensign Cupid' was strengthened and the maker's name added. Different finishes exist - smooth (early) or rough crackle. A dark blue version was also produced. A brilliant finder was available as an accessory.

The first patent that relates to the Cupid was 193986 of 1921, this describes a curious camera intended for plates or cut-film. It comprised a metal guide plate for the plate holder attached to this was a thin housing for the lens, this gave a very pronounced 'T' section to the camera. The plate holder could slide within the guide plate and be fixed in different positions, the purpose of this was to allow several exposures on a single plate. When not in use the guide plate folded around the lens housing. The second related patent is 194897 of 1922 which describes the camera as produced for roll-film. The third patent covers shutter arrangements (207637). The Permutt sale contained a prototype of the first patent but having two lenses for stereo.

The idea for doubling the number of exposures on a roll of film came from W.H. Harvey's patent 13246 of 1914. He describes camera backs having two red windows or film with intermediate marks on the backing paper, masks for the focal plane and view-finder are also described. The Cupid employed two red windows where film with standard numbering on the backing paper was advanced so that each number appeared in each window successively.

References & Notes:
BP 194897/1922. BP 207637/1922. BJA 1924, p. 135. BJA 1925, p. 123.

Further Information:
Coe, Cameras, p.92. Sci. Mus. Cat. p.51.


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