All-Distance Pocket Ensign - Antique and Vintage Cameras

All-Distance Pocket Ensign

1928

Early model

Houghton-Butcher (Great Britain) Ltd

London

England

Image of All-Distance Pocket Ensign Early model

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Early lens mount: No patent details around lens, "T B I" placed above speed selector, without name and aperture plate around lens. Large bezel on finder. No tripod socket. Aperture names close together. No frame finder. Provisional patent 23500 1925 on spool retainers. Black/nickel distance scale. Bar type film advance handle.

Early model

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
Similar to the previous entry.

With:
Case.

Later model, Black

Image of  Later model, Black

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant view-finder.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry except with later lens/shutter mount and small bezel on finder.

Later model, Brown

Image of  Later model, Brown

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant and frame view-finders.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry except frame finder and tripod sockets added, aperture names are widely separated, full patent 281802 on spool retainers.

With:
Case, black leatherette with braided edges.

Later model, Black

Image of  Later model, Black

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant and frame view-finders.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry except for nickel distance scale.

With:
Case.

Late model, Blue

Image of  Late model, Blue

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant and frame view-finders.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry except for knob film advance.

Model No. 1, Red

1931

Image of  Model No. 1, Red

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant and frame view-finders.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry except for etched distance scale and No. 1 on name plate.

With:
Case, black leatherette with braided edges.

Model No. 1, Gold

Image of  Model No. 1, Gold

Lens:
Meniscus, three stops on sector.

Shutter:
Synchro with I (1/25), T, B settings.

Construction:
Metal body finished in 'crystalline enamel', black leather bellows.

Format:
2 " x 3 " exposures on Ensign 2 B roll-film.

Focusing:
Bellows. Single extension. Front standard clicks into one of two cut-outs.

Attributes:
Brilliant and frame view-finders.
Film advance indicated by red window. Not coupled to shutter.

Identification:
As previous entry.

With:
Case.

The All-Distance Pocket Ensign (later the All-Distance Pocket Ensign No.1) was a very simple model aimed at those new to photography, it was a step up from a box camera but had a similar specification and was as simple to use. 'All-distance' refers to the lens having two positions - 3' to 9' and over 9', on similarly named box cameras the lens was pulled forward on this camera there are two positions for the front standard. The finish was painted metal with a ripple effect described as crystalline enamel, this was often found on Ensign cameras rather than a more expensive leather covering. The camera was introduced in 1928 and last appears in catalogues around 1933. For a relatively short life it went through a large number of minor modifications. In 1931 a leather covered version with a speeded shutter was introduced designated No. 2, the original model, still with a painted finish, was then designated No. 1. During this period Ensign produced coloured version of many of their cameras, the All-Distance Pocket Ensign was advertised in red, brown and blue as well as the standard black, though other colours are known to exist.

The All-Distance Pocket Ensign cost 37/6, the No. 2 model cost 42/-. The All-Distance Ensign box model cost 25/-. A number of cases were available including one in coloured leather to match the camera.

Early Model
Very early models had the T B I settings engraved above the selector directly on the lens mount, the aperture scale and shutter name were also engraved directly on the lens mount.

Later Models
The first modification was to attach two plates to the lens mount which carried the printed details. Another change probably made at this time was to add patent details around the lens.

    Subsequent modifications were:
  • The bezel surrounding the brilliant finder was changed from large to small.
  • Full patent number replaced provisional number on spool retainers.
  • Frame finder added.
  • Tripod socket added.
  • Aperture names widely separated instead of being close together.
  • Distance scale changed from black and nickel to all nickel with black writing.
  • Film advance handle changed from a bar to a round knob.
  • Model No. 1 added to name plate.
  • Distance scale changed to an etched finish (appearing grey) with black writing.
Of these changes the inclusion of the model number on the name plate can be dated to 1931 when the leather covered model 2 was introduced. Coloured models appeared around the time of the inclusion of tripod sockets.

References & Notes:
BP 271186/1926. BP 281802/1926. Ensign Cat. 1928, p.10. Ensign Cat. 1931, p.6. Ensign Cat. 1932, p.8. BJA 1928, pp. 124, 319.

Further Information:
Very good information on the All-Distance Pocket Ensign is included on the http://redbellows.co.uk/CameraCollection/HoughtonButcher/AllDistanceFoldingNo1_gen.htm web page [accessed 2020].


Company Details:

Houghton-Butcher

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