Even before the first 19th century cameras were produced, wood was used for their predecessor, the camera obscura, to keep the inside completely dark. Early antique wood cameras (also incorporating brass and leather parts) are mostly box models, but also include view cameras and American red bellows folding (self-casing) cameras. Collectible manufacturer names include Kodak, American Optical, Blair, and Scovill, among others. Wood gave way to handheld cameras in the 1920s.

Collectors seek out not only the cameras but their accessories and actual plates and images taken with them. Some antique wood cameras can be historically significant, as there were a lot of innovative prototype cameras being developed during this period. Also, many wood cameras are delicate or fragile and must be displayed carefully and kept out of direct sunlight. Finally, don't polish the brass - collectors like the tarnish!


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Antique and 19th Century Cameras

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While we couldn't read everthing - it's mostly in French - the images on this site speak for themselves. Its an ext… [read review or visit site]

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Jack and Beverly Wilgus have put together a great trove of information and images of camera obscura-related photos … [read review or visit site]

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