Instantograph - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Instantograph

1888 Model

J. Lancaster & Son

Birmingham

England

Image of Instantograph

Lens:
f7, 6" Rectigraph, iris diaphragm to f40.

Construction:
Polished Honduran mahogany, dovetail joints. Red square cornered tapered leather bellows.

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

Focusing:
Bellows to 2' 4". Double extension.

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

Identification:
Lancaster shield stamped into wood.

Movements:
Rising front, cross front, tilting back, swing back.

Notes:
Retailer's plaque: Mc Brides Store. 86 Fleet St. E.C.

Instantograph

1891 Model

J. Lancaster & Son

Birmingham

England

Image of Instantograph

Lens:
f10, 5" single achromat iris diaphragm to f30.

Construction:
Polished mahogany, dovetail joints. Red square cornered bellows.

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

Focusing:
Bellows focusing. Double extension.

Attributes:
Reversing back with Lancaster's parallel links.

Identification:
Lancaster shield stamped into wood. Large ivory name and maker's plaque simple script style. Swivel catches to retain folding bed.

Movements:
Rising front, cross front, tilting back, swing back.

With:
1 double dark-slide.

Instantograph

1893 Model

J. Lancaster & Son

Birmingham

England

Image of Instantograph

Lens:
f10, 5" single achromat iris diaphragm to f30. (Looking into the lens the figures read 10, 20, 30).

Shutter:
Lancaster Patent. Rotary sector. Rubber band powered.

Construction:
Polished mahogany, dovetail joints. Mauve, square cornered bellows.

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

Focusing:
Bellows to 2' 4". Double extension.

Attributes:
Reversing back with Lancaster's parallel links.

Identification:
Lancaster silver shield let into wood. Ivory name and maker's plaque. Swivel catches to retain folding bed.

Movements:
Rising front, cross front, tilting back, swing back.

With:

  • 1 double dark-slide.
  • Lancaster tripod, top and fixing screw.

References & Notes:
BP 5363/1885 (Shutter). Lancaster Rotary.

Aluminium Mounted Instantograph

c. 1892

J. Lancaster & Son

Birmingham

England

Image of Aluminium Mounted Instantograph

Lens:
f10, 5" single achromat iris diaphragm to f30. (Looking into the lens the figures read 10, 20, 30).

Construction:
Polished mahogany, dovetail joints. Mauve, square cornered bellows.

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

Focusing:
Bellows to 2' 4". Double extension.

Attributes:
Reversing back with Lancaster's parallel links.

Identification:
Lancaster silver shield let into wood. Ivory name and maker's plaque. Swivel catches to retain folding bed.

Movements:
Rising front, cross front, tilting back, swing back.

With:
1 double dark-slide.

The Aluminium Mounted model was listed as a separate model rather than a version of the Instantograph. It was introduced in 1892 in sizes of quarter-plate, half-plate and whole-plate, the price of the quarter-plate was 3.3.0 an ordinary Instantograph cost 2.2.0. Later (by 1900) sizes of 10" x 8" and 12" x 10" were added. The camera was listed into the late 1900s by which time an Iris shutter was fitted. The aluminium binding has a pattern of small raised dots.

The reversing frame on this example is removed by pressing a lever which depresses a spring catch.

References & Notes:
BJA 1892, p. 349. BJA 1898, p. 438. BJA 1901, p. 468. BJA 1907, p. 469.

BB Instantograph

1903 Model

J. Lancaster & Son

Birmingham

England

Image of BB Instantograph

Lens:
f8, c. 8 " Rectigraph, iris diaphragm to f60. Time scale of 1 - 32.

Construction:
Polished mahogany, comb joints. Black, diagonal cornered bellows.

Format:
6 " x 4 " plates held in double dark-slides.

Focusing:
Bellows. Double extension.

Attributes:
Reversing back with Lancaster's parallel links. Handle.

Identification:
Lancaster silver shield let into wood. Ivory name and maker's plaque. Button to retain folding bed.

Movements:
Rising front, tilting back, swing back.

With:
1 double dark-slide. Lens cap.

The 1888 model adopted conventional rack and pinion focusing rather than the front-operated worm screw of the 1887 model. The folding bed is now held in position by side struts.

The first example above is an early version of the 1888 model having the Lancaster shield and name stamped into the wood, later a metal shield would be used. It also has the early pivoted disks to hold the dark-slide in place and an enamel name plaque. Later models used Lancaster's parallel or 'Z' type back arrangement and ivory name plaques.

The tripod with the 1893 model is stamped Lancaster Patent. Lancaster did patent a tripod but it was different to this example which is a simple two fold model.

On Lancaster cameras the screws of the lens flange are not normally counter-sunk as is the case with most other manufacturers.

As well as an f number scale lenses carry a scale giving an exposure factor: f10 = 1; f20 = 4; f30 = 8. i.e. after calculating or guessing the exposure based on f10 closing to f30 will require 8 times the exposure.

Instantograph Models

The Instantograph name covers a large number of models of very different design. The most common type covers the model produced from 1888 through to the mid 1900s known originally simply as the Instantograph and later as the BB Instantograph.

1882 model
The baseboard is completely separate from the rest of the camera, the front and rear standards attach to it by bolts.

1886/87 model
Folding bed pattern with worm screw focusing operated from the front of the camera.

1888 model
Folding bed pattern with rack and pinion focusing.

Aluminium Mounted Instantograph
Folding bed pattern with aluminium binding and fittings. C. 1892.

Pocket Instantograph
Camera of lighter construction and aluminium fittings.

Cyclo Instantograph
Simple construction, folding bed pattern.

Imperial Instantograph
Field camera pattern.

Portable Instantograph
Similar to, and replaced by, the Folding Instantograph.

Folding Instantograph
Produced in polished wood or leather covered, a board covering the screen when closed hinges round to be under the focusing rack when assembled. Illustrations show a wedge shaped camera when closed similar to the Lancaster Ladies' model. C. 1895.

Special Brass Bound Instantograph
The front standard is fixed to the front of the focusing frame which moves forward when focusing. The rear standard moves along the bed and is clamped in position by hand.

1900 model Instantograph
Based on the ordinary Instantograph but with a moveable rear standard, tilting back from the base rather than the usual Lancaster arrangement.

BB Instantograph
The ordinary model was renamed BB Instantograph (Brass Bound) around 1900.

Euryscope Instantograph
Based on the ordinary Instantograph and fitted with a Euryscope lens in a between-lens shutter. Introduced in c. 1902.

Royal Instantograph
Field camera with triple extension introduced c. 1903.

Excelsior Instantograph
Field camera with triple extension introduced c. 1905.

Empire Instantograph
Field camera with triple extension introduced c. 1905.

Variations covering the ordinary and BB models

  • Name plaque. Early models (before c. 1890) have enamel plaques, later ivory.
  • Fitting of dark-slide. Early models (between 1887 and c. 1890) use two eccentrically mounted discs to hold the slide at the top corners, the focusing screen is hinged at the top. Later the slide pushes into slots and the screen is mounted on 'Z' shaped links that hold it parallel to the back of the camera.
  • Bellows. Early models have square cornered bellows, later they are diagonal.
  • Lancaster shield. On early models (before c. 1892) the shield is stamped into the wood, later a metal plaque is used.
  • Handle. Late models are fitted with a handle.
  • Baseboard catch. On early models two swivelling catches hold the baseboard to the body when the camera is closed, later (c. 1895) a spring catch is used.
  • Joints. Early models use dovetail joints on the rear standard later they are finger joints.
  • Lens Panel. On late models this is a simple square panel sunk into the front standard. On earlier models the panel runs between rails giving a cross front movement or, on larger sizes, it is attached to the front standard by two bolts that move within slots on the front panel.

References & Notes:
BP 1533/1887. Lancaster Cat. 1888, p. 8. BJA 1884, p. xxiii. BJA 1886, p. cvii. BJA 1890, p. 262. BJA 1892, p. 358. PA 1891, pp. lxxix, 252. Lothrop, Century, p. 28.


Company Details:

Lancaster & Son

Rouch Tailboard

Rouch Patent Portable

Shew Pocket Camera

Mayfield, Cobb

Hare Tailboard

Meagher Tailboard

Exhibition Camera

Watson Tailboard

PACSA Tailboard

Rouch Long & Short Focus

Stanley Tailboard

Spicer Tailboard

Ashford patent

Beck Tailboard

Tailboard for Mono or Stereo

Stereoscopic Camera

College Set

LSC Tailboard

The Amateur

Instanto

Marion's Oxford

Continental Tailboard

G. Hill camera

New Patent Portable

McKellen

Sands & Hunter Imperial

Park Victoria

Watson Acme

Adams Club

Robinson Field

Holmes Single Lens Stereo

Collins Patent Field

The Club

Royal Letters Patent

Unnamed Field

Unnamed Field

Lizars Combination Challenge

Shew's Aluminium Combination

Improved Tourist Camera

Unnamed Camera

Sanderson

Sanderson A pattern

Sanderson Popular

Sanderson Junior

Tropical Sanderson

Albion

Tablo

Tourist

Royal Ruby

Triple Extension Field

Empress

Triple Victo

College

Gandolfi Precision

Lawley Field Camera

Hare New Patent Camera

New Light Premier

Brown's Combination

Scott's Patent

The British

Tourograph

Improved Long Focus

Billcliff Camera

Rayment's Patent

Economic Portable

Optimus

Focal-Plane Field Camera

Clydesdale Set

Le Merveilleux

Le Meritoire

Instantograph

Instantograph

Instantograph

Special BB Instantograph

Late model Lancaster

Extra Special

Folding Instantograph

Shew Featherweight