Transitional Camera - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Transitional Camera


Image of Transitional Camera

c. f14, 15" Grubb Aplanat lens, C, Washer stops. Brass mount with extending front section. C indicates a 3" diameter size. Serial no. 2885 .

Spanish mahogany, dovetail joints, brass bound, with brass fittings. Black square cornered leather bellows. Meagher type side support on each side of camera.

10" x 12" plates held in slides.

Bellows. Single extension, worm screw moves rear standard.

Rising front, tilting back.


  • 3 double dark-slides.
  • Wet-plate insert for a 12" x 12" dark slide.
  • Fitted pine case with a label for the Hotel Continental Calcatta.

This camera is similar to ones advertised by Meagher as the New Folding Camera or Portable Bellows Camera. The camera is very well-made and incorporates two Meagher-style wing supports. An early type of tilting back is fitted where an inner frame tilts within the rear standard, the top and bottom of the frame are curved. The camera is fitted for wet-plate dark slides that drop down into the camera.

The camera has double dark slides these would not normally work in a camera accepting dark-slides that 'drop down', there would be no provision for landscape mode. To overcome this an extension piece has been fitted, this drops into the camera, as would a wet-plate slide, but is wide enough to clear the rear standard, a reversing frame is fitted to this extension piece. The extension piece matches other parts of the camera, it is not clear if the extension piece and double dark-slides are original to the camera or whether an earlier camera was updated. A wet-plate slide insert with silver wire corners is with the camera. It was quite usual for cameras at this time to be provided with both wet-plate and double dark-slides.

The image, right, shows the extension piece holding the dark slide and focusing screen. The clamping screw for the tilting back can also be seen.

An advertisement from Meagher in the 1877 British Journal of Photography Almanac shows a similar camera able to be fitted with a tilting back it also shows the early form of drop down slide.

The rear of the lens panel has a pencil inscription detailing the lens together with a date of July 1877. The lens is earlier than this so it probably indicates when the lens was added to the camera. The lens is listed as covering 8" x 10" to 10" x 12".

References & Notes:
BJA 1877, p. cxxviii.

Further Information:
The Continental Hotel, which possibly dates to the mid 1880s, no longer exists but would have been close to the Bourne & Shepherd studio. The hotel address is 9, 10, 11 & 12 Chowringhee Road.

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