Le Merveilleux - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Le Merveilleux

Improved model


J. Lancaster & Son



Image of Le Merveilleux Improved model

f16, 5 " Lancaster single achromat.

Polished Honduran mahogany, square cornered tapered cloth bellows.

3 " x 4 " plates held in double dark-slides.

Single extension. Bellows to 5 feet.

Two positions for the dark-slide (landscape, portrait) which is retained by eccentric circular plates.

The Merveilleux was the simplest of Lancaster's trio of field cameras (Merveilleux, Meritoire, Instantograph). It first appeared in 1882 fitted with square bellows and a separate baseboard to which the front and rear standards were attached by screws. In 1886 the conventional folding bed design with pull-out front standard was adopted. In this improved form the camera had no swing back or rising front, focusing was by clamping the front standard in place and sliding the lens in the mount for fine focusing. Sizes advertised varied but included 3 " x 4 " , 6 " x 4 ", 10" x 8", 10" x 12" and 12" x 15". For a short time around 1890 4" x 5" and 5" x 7" sizes were advertised. A stereo version was also produced. In the late 1890s swing back was included in the camera's specification. The method of joining the bed and the rear standard changed at this time. Shortly afterwards (c. 1900) a sector shutter was fitted followed by rack and pinion focusing. For the '1903' model an iris shutter was fitted and the front standard was metal. The camera was later available with a choice of lenses. Around the turn of the century a 'Hand and Stand' model called the 'Pocket Merveilleux' was produced.

References & Notes:
BJA 1886, p. cvii. BJA 1888, p. 183. BJA 1890, p. 260. BJA 1892, p. 356. BJA 1899, p. 444. BJA 1900, p. 429. BJA 1901, p. 461. BJA 1902, p. 489. BJA 1903, p. 489. BJA 1905, p. 484. BJA 1906, p. 474.

Company Details:

Lancaster & Son

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