Popular Ensign - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Flush Back Popular Ensign

2 B size with brown covering

Image of Flush Back Popular Ensign 2 B size with brown covering

f6.3, 4" T.T.H. Lumar, iris diaphragm to f45.

Trichro, speeds 1/25 - 1/100, B, T.

Wood and metal body covered in brown material, black leather bellows, brown leather handle.

8, 2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Bellows to 3 feet.

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

Serial Number:
? 230 .

Cable release. Leather case with 'crocodile' pattern.

The Popular Ensign was introduced around 1922 with several lens options and a choice of shutters. It was advertised with a black leather finish to the body, some models, however, had a finish of coloured leatherette or similar material. These would seem to be late examples introduced around the time of the Houghton-Butcher merger of 1926.1

Prior to the introduction of the Popular Ensign, the Houghton range of folding roll-film cameras comprised:

  • Folding Ensign - a simple model in 2 B, 2 , 3 and 3 A sizes.
  • Flush Back Ensign - a more substantial model with U shaped front standard in sizes of 3 and 3 A. A model with an f4.5 lens was added by 1922. The 2 size was added by 1922.
  • Regular Ensign - same as the Flush Back but able to take plates as well as roll-film in sizes of 3 and 3 A. A model with an f4.5 lens was added by 1922.
  • Ensign de Luxe - similar to the Regular but fitted with double extension and dividing lenses in sizes of 3 and 3 A. A model with an f4.5 lens was added by 1922.

The Popular Ensign was introduced in sizes of:

  • 2 B (Flush Back and regular)
  • 2 ⅞ (regular)
'Flush Back' was incorporated in the name e.g. Flush Back Popular Ensign 2 B; the regular, for both plates and roll-film, was simply named e.g. Ensign Popular 2 B. A special model with an f4.5 lens was also introduced at this time in the 2 B size in both Flush Back and regular forms.

Lenses and Shutters
A wide range of lenses was available:
Single Achromat f112 B 2 ⅞Dallmeyer Serrac f4.5f4.5 2 B
Plutar f82 B 2 ⅞Cooke-Aviar f4.5f4.5 2 B
Aldis-Plano f7.72 B 2 ⅞Ross Xpres f4.5f4.5 2 B
Beck-Ensign f62 BBeck-Ensign f7.72 ⅞
Cooke-Luxor f6.82 B 2 ⅞Aldis-Plano f6.82 ⅞
Aldis f6.32 BAldis f62 ⅞
Dallmeyer Perfac f6.32 B 2 ⅞
Cooke f6.52 B 2 ⅞
Ross Homocentric f6.32 B 2 ⅞

The 2 B model was fitted with either an Ensign-Simplex (1/25 - 1/100) or Ensign-Sector shutter (1 -1/100). The f4.5 2 B had an Ilex Acme (- 1/300). The 2 ⅞ had an Ensign-Simplex, Ilex General (1/5 - 1/100) or an Ilex Universal (1 - 1/150). Not all lens and shutter combinations were offered.

Camera Sizes
The film size was often incorporated into the camera name:
2 B2 " x 3 "
2 2 " x 4 "
2 ⅞2 ⅞" x 4 ⅞"
3 3 " x 4 "
3 A3 " x 5 "

Lumar Lens
This was a three element type produced by Taylor, Taylor & Hobson and patented in 1921, it is not included in the 1922 Ensign catalogue.

References & Notes:
BP 157037/1921 (Lens). Ensign Cat. 1922, p. 60.

[1] The Trichro shutter as fitted to this example was not available prior to this date. Possibly the coloured models were intended to clear existing camera bodies as the Popular Ensign range was not continued under Houghton-Butcher.

Sibyl - Original



Special Sibyl

Sibyl Imperial

Sibyl De Luxe

Postcard Sibyl

Roll-film Sibyl

Roll-film Baby Sibyl

New Special Sibyl

Roll-film New Special Sibyl

New Ideal Sibyl

Roll-film New Ideal Sibyl

Baby Sibyl

Rangefinder Baby Sibyl

Sibyl Vitesse

Sibyl Excelsior

Newton Litchfield Camera


Roll-Film Vesta


Focal Plane Vesta

Stereo Vesta



No 1 Gleaner

Imperial Pocket


Dallmeyer Speed




Super Speed Cameo



Soho Cadet

Soho Pilot

Soho Raven

TEB No. 5


Regular Ensign

Folding Ensign

Popular Ensign

Watch Pocket Carbine

Ensign Carbine Tropical

Ensign Greyhound

All-Distance Pocket Ensign

Ensign Pocket Twenty

Ensign Selfix '20'



Autorange 220

Ensign Commando

Selfix 820 Special

Selfix 12-20 Special

Rangefinder Agifold