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!
Interviews & Articles
How did I start collecting cameras? Actually, I had an interest in photography as a kid and owned a darkroom by the age of 12 or 1… [more]
We both come from families that had collections and we both had collections as children. Jack lost his when his grandmother threw … [more]