Timeline of British Stand Cameras

The following section is a timeline of stand camera models and patents. Patents shown in bold are known to have made it into production.


Hare's 'Improved Portable Bellows Camera'

This camera was widely copied by other manufacturers and provided a template for Tailboard models. The name was used for an earlier Hare camera but advertisements say that the 1878 model was a 'new arrangement'. Other similar cameras were Meagher's 'Improved Portable Bellows Camera'; the Exhibition from Sands & Hunter (1881), probably made by Hare; Gandolfi Universal and Watson's tailboard camera (c. 1883). The Hare camera was also retailed by Fallowfield.

Rouch 'Patent Portable Camera'

A not very successful design where the baseboard lies behind the focusing screen when not in use and hinges around to the front of the camera for use. The front standard is carried on a small focusing rail. The camera was followed by the less successful and more complicated 'Long & Short Focus' camera of 1885, this retained the hinged baseboard but had a large front standard matching the rear standard with interchangeable parts. The Patent Portable was improved around 1893 by incorporating some of the features from the 'Long & Short Focus' such as an inner focusing frame and larger front standard, it remained on sale into the early 1900s but did not sell in large numbers, a stereo version was also offered.

BP 1448/1878
Rouch, S.W.


1881 BP 3014
Smith, George

The rear standard has a rounded base and is clamped by a screw passing through the baseboard. The standard pivots on a ball or cylinder for adjustment, the screw tightens on the ball when clamped. Sold as the Sciopticon, a distinctive tailboard type camera.

1881 BP 5598
Lawley, Walter ; Starnes, H.S.

Camera with provision for holding and changing plates internally by passing a hand through a light-tight sleeve.

Hare's 'New Patent Camera'

The '1882' pattern is important in camera design. Its essential features were a back hinged to the baseboard and a front which pulled out on rails for focusing. The front was locked by rods passing through the front standard. The front could be pushed into the back and the baseboard raised and locked to the back. This form was widely copied, it also, through a series of modifications, developed into the British form of folding 'Hand and Stand' camera.

BP 3035/1882
Hare, George

The first version of Lancaster cameras, Instantograph, Le Merveilleux and Le Meritoire, had a separate baseboard to which the front and rear standards clipped or bolted. Replaced by a Folding Bed design in 1886.

1882 BP 3268
Stanley, William Ford

Focusing scale attached to the baseboard.

McKellen's 'Double-pinion Treble Patent'

The Treble Patent marks the boundary between the older Kinnear pattern and the newer 'Field camera' design that was to remain popular to the end of the Edwardian period. The camera continued to be called the Treble Patent even though there were more patents associated with the camera.

Early models were made by Billcliff, the McKellen advertisement in the BJA of 1886 (p. cxxiii) states that the camera is now made in McKellen's own premises, the Billcliff advertisement for 1886 states that he is the maker. Improvements were made to the camera in 1886; the original method of attaching the front standard forks to the inner rack was replaced by pinions, the bellows were less tapered allowing a larger lens opening, the method of fixing the dark-slide was also altered.

S.D. McKellen (b. 1836 d. 1907).

BP 319/1884
McKellen, Samuel Dunseith

Turntable in base of camera to dispense with the tripod top.

BP 6688/1884
McKellen, Samuel Dunseith

Pivoting lens board enabling it to swing forward onto the baseboard whilst front standard swings backwards when collapsing the camera.

BP 8463/1884
McKellen, Samuel Dunseith

Inner sliding frame on a field camera for focusing, the frame is moved by a rack and pinions at each end of the frame.

BP 16334/1884
McKellen, Samuel Dunseith

Horizontal swing given to the back by pivoting it to plates that move along each edge of the baseboard.

1884 BP 1898
Sands, Charles ; Hunter, J.J.

Swing and tilt adjustment using a cradle with curved surfaces attached to the baseboard. Used on the 'Patent Swing' studio camera.

1884 BP 7201
Samuels, T.

The object is to dispense with the tilting back and sliding front. The lens is supported on a 'U' shaped bracket allowing rise, tilt and shift.

1884 BP 12389
Chapman, J.T. ; Scott, T.

Describes a folding bed camera with a double-slotted link connecting the baseboard and the back.

1884 BP 15887
Middlemiss, W.

Describes a field camera with two angle-plates sliding on the inner frame to which the front standard is pivoted. To collapse the camera the front standard pushes to the rear and pivots forward onto the bed. The second part of the patent describes a swing back enabled by a brass plate with a curved slot at the back of the camera to which the back is attached. The third part describes a tripod fixing onto a secondary baseboard.

Sands & Hunter 'Double Rack' camera

The 'Double Rack' or 'Double Rack & Pinion' camera looked much like a Kinnear pattern, it had though a reversing back so it need not be turned on its side to change from portrait to landscape format. In 1887 the 'Double Rack' was replaced by the Imperial.

BP 16087/1884
Sands, H.C. ; Hunter, J.J.

Describes a camera with the front and back standards moved by racks running each side of a single pinion. The patent was used on the 'Imperial' and an earlier model from S&H.

1885 BP 1120
Branson, F.W.

Describes a tailboard camera.

1885 BP 2496
Brown, J.E.

Method of clamping the front standard to the baseboard and clamping the rising front. Used on the 'Combination' camera from Shew and others.

1885 BP 4528
Stanley, William Ford

Field camera with an attached focusing hood and magnifier.

1885 BP 5364
Lancaster, W.J.

Baseboard in three parts with pull-out section and second section moved by rack and pinion. Locking nut on pinion.

1885 BP 5938
Rouch, A.S.

Tailboard camera, especially the fitting of the front and rear standards. Used in the 'Long and Short Focus' camera.

1885 BP 5965
Underwood, E. ; Underwood, T.A.

Field camera with a turntable or cut-out for the lens in the baseboard.

1885 BP 10594
Gotz, J.R.

The camera back is connected by short links to the slides running on the edge of the baseboard, this is arranged to provide a tilting back. Tilting front is also provided.

1885 BP 11386
Park, Henry

Dovetailed wedge-shaped fitting on the camera to fit tripod top.

1885 BP 13956
Billcliff, Joshua

Rotating back.

Thornton's Jubilee Camera

The Jubilee was Thornton's first camera, it included several innovations but more importantly started a long line of popular field cameras. The Jubilee was manufactured by Joshua Billcliff to designs and patent specifications by Thornton. The camera was a conventional field camera with inner focusing frame and a front standard that could be disengaged for packing. Most noticeably it included a large circular lens panel that carried up to four lenses any of which could quickly be put in place. Other features included a hole in the baseboard with a turntable to fit the tripod legs. In place of the focusing glass a flexible translucent material was used. Plumb indicators were present, a feature that was to last on T-P cameras for many years. Billcliff's patented revolving back was fitted. The usual movements of rising front and tilting front and back were present.

The Jubilee was replaced the following year by the Tourist, this was very similar but includes 'Thornton's Improved Patent' revolving back. This may indicate that Thornton was now making cameras. The Cyclum was also advertised, this was fitted with a reversing back.

In 1888 the Tourist incorporated McKellens method of collapsing the camera and a new pattern of central swing (tilt) back with guide slots on the bracket attaching the camera to the baseboard. The following year the Tourist was accompanied by the Artist and the Popular models.

BP 2670/1886
Thornton, John Edward

Field camera with front standard that can be disengaged for collapsing. Double pinion acting on the focusing rack. Circular lens panel carrying several lenses. Flexible focusing screen that winds onto a roller.

BP 13240/1886
Thornton, John Edward

Field camera with front standard that can be disengaged for collapsing. Hole in baseboard with a turntable to fix tripod. Plumb bob. Circular lens panel carrying several lenses.

BP 14421/1886
Thornton, John Edward

So that Waterhouse stops are not lost they fit into a metal frame attached to the side of the camera, to hold them in place a leaf spring has an attached peg that fits into the holes of the stops.

Lancaster Instantograph

The Instantograph was one of a trio of similar cameras introduced in 1882 having completely removable front and rear standards that bolted to a flat baseboard. In 1886 they were redesigned as Folding Bed cameras and remained on sale with minor changes until the 1900s. The Instantograph sold in large numbers, more than any other stand camera model. Lancaster passed most of the manufacturing process to small local businesses which became specialised in a particular task, the components were then assembled and finished in Lancaster's own works. Cameras conform to standard designs produced by Lancaster and show the changes that were made every year or so. Components, such as the metal work, must have been sourced centrally as these parts show little difference between examples. By the early 1900s Lancaster was increasingly buying-in complete or near complete cameras from other manufacturers to sell under their own name. This change was accelerated as customers, especially at the cheaper end of the market, opted for small metal-bodied hand cameras rather than stand cameras.

Lancaster Parallel Links on Focusing Screen

Around this time Lancaster fixed the focusing screen to the camera with four double hinges so that the screen moved backwards and remained parallel to the camera back allowing the dark-slide to slot into place. This was first used on tailboard cameras and then more generally on cameras such as the Instantograph.

Rayment's Patent Camera

BP 1675/1886
Rayment, A.

Method of fixing the front standard to the baseboard using vertical rods inside the forks.

1886 BP 2811
Stanley, William Ford

Cameras, especially fixing the front standard to the baseboard using studs.

1886 BP 5450
Middlemiss, W.

Development of patent 15887/1884, the front standard is held in place by pins that can pivot and be disengaged to collapse the camera. Advertised by Marion (YBP 1891).

1886 BP 7951
McKellen, Samuel Dunseith

The dark-slides are held in position by wooden strips that are moveable to accommodate different sizes of dark-slide. The strips unscrew and can be placed for vertical or horizontal use.

1886 BP 9756
McLaughlin, G.

Use of a metal frame in place of the conventional baseboard, the sides of the frame can telescope for focusing. Arrangement for tilting back and swing front.

Park's Victoria

Field camera of light construction with a dovetail fitting to tripod top. Also sold by Fallowfield.

BP 14262/1886
Park, Henry

Describes a conventional field camera with an inner moveable frame on which the front standard is mounted.

The British

Very well-made Folding bed camera of simple design closely resembling Hare's 1882 model. The camera was sold by Chapman and made by Billcliff.

1887 BP 541
Ashford, J.

Tailboard camera where the bellows disengage from the front, the rear standard folds onto the baseboard and the front standard folds on top covering the focusing screen. Possibly used on a Ross stereo camera.

1887 BP 1533
Lancaster, W.J.

Use of eccentric discs to clamp the dark-slides in place. Slotted plates on the rear standard to provide tilt and swing to the back. Inner metal frame to dark-slide to hold two plates. Bellows extension to focusing screen with lens and prism to give erect image. Lens board held in fork which has a fine focus adjustment. The method to hold the dark-slides was used on the Instantograph and other cameras as were the slotted plates to give tilting back. The fine focus arrangement on the front standard was used on the 'Special' model.

1887 BP 2042
Gotz, J.R.

The base of the back has a curved rack to provide a tilt movement.

1887 BP 4718
Cusworth, C.

Field camera with levers to clamp the front standard.

Imperial, Sands & Hunter

BP 4808/1887
Sands, Charles ; Hunter, J.J.

Use of a slotted disc to set tilting back.

1887 BP 10103
Collins, T.J.

Method of clamping the front standard to the baseboard.

Gale's Patent Camera

BP 3076/1888
Gale, C.H.

Field camera, the front forks have a slot within which the studs on the lens board can move for vertical adjustment. Centre swing and base tilt to back. Focusing pinion pushes into recess for storage. Sold by Marion as the Cyclone.

1888 BP 8447
Turner, J. W.

Method of fixing the rear standard of a field camera to the baseboard. The rear standard is attached to a bracket that moves along a rail, a wedge clamps the bracket to the rail.

An example of a camera using this patent carried the label 'Adnitt & Naunton Shrewsbury. Salopian Camera Patent 8447’.

1888 BP 12573
Scorer, W.

Turntable operated by a rack and pinion, general arrangement for focusing and folding the camera.

1888 BP 18542
Rayment, E. ; Rayment, F.L. ; Rayment, A. ; North, C.G.

The focusing pinion has reduced sections so that when these are moved over the rack it is out of gear.

Chadwick Stereo Camera

Chadwick was prominent in popularising the second phase of stereo photography that started around 1890. His Stereo camera was well designed and came complete with a single lens for mono use, the lens panel could be reversed with the lenses in place for storage. An accompanying viewer was also produced.

1889 BP 8054
Skinner, J.H. ; Lyth, E.J.

Use of an extra large pinion wheel to adjust the focus. A folding handle rotates the pinion wheel, a sliding bolt locks the position.

Watson Acme

The Acme was one of the finest field cameras made and very well finished. The range of movements was not especially great but was adequate for most purposes. Emphasis was placed on the compactness and rigidity of the camera. It remained on sale into the 1940s.

BP 18099/1888
Watson, Thomas Parsons

Method of connecting the front standard to the baseboard and locking rising front etc. Used on the Acme camera.

1889 BP 1631
Lancaster, W.J.

Curved slot on front standard forks to control tilt and collapsing of camera. Tilting back by clamping plates on the rear standard to short uprights running on the baseboard, these uprights (and therefore the whole back) are clamped to the baseboard by a screwed rod extending the width of camera. Bellows are made parallel for a short distance near the camera back. Used on the 'Extra Special' model.

1889 BP 14537
Scorer, W.

The lens is mounted within eccentric discs to provide rise and cross front. Other improvements cover tripod fixing.


Thornton-Pickard Ruby

A popular field camera that remained on sale for many years.

1890 BP 3743
Scorer, W.

Covers the fitting of dark-slides to reversing frames, especially an arrangement of catches that prevents the shutter of the slide being withdrawn until it inserted into the camera back.

1890 BP 7489
Vevers, C.C.

Describes a back with swing and tilt. Used on the Perfection model.

1890 BP 12001
Skinner, J.H.

Method of clamping tripod turntable.

c. 1890

Unusual design from Pearson & Denham with round section, tapered bellows and largely metal construction. The camera collapses into a very small space.

1891 BP 6533
Savage, R.W. ; Sun Camera Co.

An interrupted screw (bayonet) is used to attach and disconnect the bellows to the front standard. The tilting back is guided by a curved slot. Back adapted to fit an enlarger or copying device.

1891 BP 13449
Gandolfi, Louis

Method of attaching the front standard to the baseboard.

1891 BP 14648
Rayment, Arthur ; Lyons, G.

Front standard is made detachable by using spring bolts on the forks. Two positions for the forks locked by a single pair of struts.

1893 BP 5828
Lancaster, W.J.

Method of clamping and collapsing front standard, tilting back arrangement. Used on the Imperial Instantograph. Dark-slide with hinged top to load plates.

1892 BP 14753
Griffiths, Walter

The conventional baseboard is replaced by telescoping tubes.

1893 BP 16373
Branson, F.W.

Use of studs to attach front standard to inner frame. Frame strengthened by using racks of T, L or U section, the racks are cut diagonally to match spiral pinion to give less backlash when focusing.

1894 BP 366
Curtis, W.F.H.

Swing and tilt to back arranged so that the axis of movement is co-incident with the sensitive plate.

1894 BP 1830
Peck, G.

Describes a monorail camera.

1894 BP 5374
Cole, J.

A tambour front panel is used to give rising front, moved by rack and pinion.


A series of very well-made field cameras having exceptional front standard movements designed to do away with the need for a tilting back. The cameras remained on sale into the 1930s but their heyday was the early 1900s, few were made after 1910.

BP 613/1895
Sanderson, Frederick Herbert

Sanderson front standard support struts.

1895 BP 3634
Spratt, Henry James ; Spratt, Alfred Sidney ; Spratt, George Albert

Method of connecting the front standard to the baseboard.

1895 BP 22136
Thornton, John Edward ; Pickard, Arthur Gray

Use of springs and notches in the side struts to locate normal position of front and rear standards. Locking of inner focusing frame by bolts. Focusing screen attached to reversing frame by two flat springs allowing screen to move outwards when slide is inserted.

1895 BP 23883
Spratt, Henry James ; Spratt, Alfred Sidney ; Spratt, George Albert

Front standard connected to the baseboard by two studs, each side of the standard, these engage slots one of which is segmental allowing the standard to pivot forward for removal.

1896 BP 789
Holmes, Leonard ; Holmes, Leonard Edwin ; Holmes, Herbert

Method of connecting front standard to the camera baseboard for stereo use.

1896 BP 4110
Parkinson, H.C.

Describes a monorail.

1896 BP 16544
Thornton, John Edward ; Pickard, Edgar

Describes a focusing screen that is held in place by springs acting along one edge with a spring loaded bar holding a dark-slide in place. Clips on the lens board to hold it in the normal position. Notches in the struts to locate them in the vertical position. Method of locking the inner focusing frame. Tripod screw is pivoted so that when not in use it lies flat in a recess within the tripod top.

Gandolfi, Imperial

Very well-made field camera with a full range of movements. The basic design remained in production for a long time but in later years the quality and finish was not as good as the early models.

1899 BP 6775
Wilby, J.A. ; Tattersall, W.

Method of clamping the front and rear standards by 'V' section plates working on grooves along the baseboard. The plates are pulled together by a bolt running the width of the baseboard. Found on a camera by McBean.

1899 BP 14102
Branson, F.W.

The front standard does not have a cross piece at the top of the forks, it is strengthened by angled struts on the front of the standard as well as the usual side struts.


1900 BP 15926
Howell, C.

Rack and pinion used to raise the lens board. Howell was a partner in the Midland Camera Co.

1900 BP 20862
Sanderson, Frederick Herbert

Tallbody feature to prevent bunching of the bellows from obscuring the image.

1903 BP 14137
Thornton-Pickard Manufacturing Co. ; Pickard, George Arthur ; Woods, Alfred

Front standard and lens board arrangement with springs to retain the lens board within the forks. Spring clamp to retain lens panel.

1905 BP 4515
Thornton-Pickard Manufacturing Co. ; Pickard, George Arthur

Method of arranging the struts to bring the front and rear standards of a field camera close together. The mounting for the front standard struts is elevated to avoid contact with the rear standard. Used on the Royal Ruby field camera.

1907 BP 14916
Houghtons Ltd ; Edwards, William Albert ; Holmes, Herbert

Describes a spring operated rocking plate pivoted on one of the front standard struts that engages notches in a slide plate. The notches position the strut in the vertical and extreme forward position. Used on Sanderson field cameras.

Used on the Sanderson camera.