Universal Special B - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Universal Special B

1895

3 focus model

Newman & Guardia

London

England

Image of Universal Special B

Lens:
f7.2, 5" Zeiss Patent Anastigmat Series VIIa No. 3, iris diaphragm to f64. Combinable lens f12.5, 7 ¼", back group iris to f45; f12.5, 11 ½" front group iris to f45. Serial no. 2417 2435 .

Shutter:
N&G, sector type, spring powered with pneumatic regulation, speeds 1/2 - 1/100. T setting by short pressure on release with shutter set to 1/2 second.

Construction:
Leather covered mahogany body.

Format:
12, 3 ¼" x 4 ¼" plates held in removable changing box, bag type.

Focusing:
Bellows, scale to 2 yards with combined lens, 2 yards back group, 6 yards front group. With combined lens focus is to 17". Double extension.

Attributes:
Two reflecting view-finders. Automatic counter on changing box. Two circular spirit levels.

Movements:
Rise and cross front.

Serial Number:
B262 .

Notes:
Address on plaque: Newman & Guardia. 92 Shaftesbury Avenue. London. W. (1893 - 1897). Patents on boxes: 8329/86, 13857/92.

With:

  • Changing box for 12 plates, with plate holders and pressure slide. Serial no. 1033.
  • Changing box for 24 cut-films, with holders and pressure slide. Serial no. 1204.
  • 3 double dark-slides (1 - 6).
  • Focusing screen. Leather case with N&G label.

Universal Special B

3 focus model

Model of c. 1896

Newman & Guardia Ltd

London

England

Image of Universal Special B

Lens:
f7, 7" Zeiss Patent Anastigmat Series VIIa No. 8, iris diaphragm to f45, click stops. Combinable lens f12.5, 11 ½", back group iris to f45; f12.5, 14" front group iris to f45. Serial no. 7894 8088 .

Shutter:
N&G, sector type, spring powered with pneumatic regulation, speeds 1/2 - 1/100. T setting by short pressure on release with shutter set to 1/2 second.

Construction:
Leather covered mahogany body.

Format:
12, 5" x 4" plates held in removable changing box, bag type.

Focusing:
Bellows, scale to 2 yards with combined lens, 3 yards back group, 8 yards front group. With combined lens focus is to 27". Double extension.

Attributes:
Two reflecting view-finders. Automatic counter on changing box. Two 'T' spirit levels.

Movements:
Rise and cross front.

Serial Number:
SB1242 .

Notes:
Address on plaque: Newman & Guardia Ltd. 90 & 92 Shaftesbury Avenue. London. W. (1897 - 1909). Patents on boxes: 13857/92.
This camera was produced after the introduction of 'T' levels in 1896 and before the introduction of bayonet lens mounts in 1903.

With:

  • Changing box for 12 plates, with plate holders and pressure slide. Serial no. 2896.
  • Focusing screen.

The Special B was one of N&G's most popular models, some 2000 being made. It was made in four regular sizes (others to order): quarter-plate, 4" x 5" and half-plate. A 5 ½" x 3 ½" two focus model was advertised from 1906. Two versions exist, a two focus model having a convertible lens of two similar components and a three focus model with dissimilar front and rear groups.

Production of the three focus model continued until the mid 1900s, the two focus model until around World War I. By then the fashion for detective cameras had passed.

Several minor variations exist:

  • The original circular spirit level was replaced by a 'T' level c. 1896.
  • Around 1900 the name of the lens changed from Zeiss Satz-Anastigmat VIIa to Zeiss Protar VIIa.
  • In 1903 bayonet lens mounts were fitted.

When using the combined or back lens component the changing box is placed towards the front of the chamber. When the 'front' lens is used it replaces the back lens (i.e. fits behind the shutter), and a frame is placed between the changing box and the front of the chamber. This gives extra extension for the longer focus lens.

The usual serial number prefix for a Special B is SB. The quarter-plate example with an index of B is an early model produced before the index changed to SB.

The price of the quarter-plate model was £22.10.0, the 5" x 4" cost £27.10.0.

References & Notes:
N&G Cameras. N&G Serial Numbers. N&G Universal shutter. BJA 1896, p. 108. BJA 1897, p. 110. BJA 1899, p. 125. BJA 1904, p. 121.


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