Posted 3 months ago
On Friday, January 25th we did our routine search of vintage cameras online. We were fortunate to come across an old wooden camera with 4 hours left to bid. We watched the item until the last second, and won the auction. It was a risk we took, not having seen the camera in person, and the catch was that we had to pick it up ourselves. The following day after work, we got into the van just to pick it up – all the way in Lilitz, Pennsylvania. The drive was approximately 8.5 hours each way, and it was worth every minute. Upon our arrival to the seller’s lovely home in the country, stood the large antique camera awaiting us at the door.
The camera and stand were manufactured by K. Nelson MFR Chicago. This company manufactured studio cameras and stands for many of the turn of the century 1890-1920 photographic supply houses like Montgomery Wards, Sears and others. Also on the camera is a stunning Holmes, Booth, and Hayden lens from 1857. We came across the actual catalog of the K. Nelson MFR Chicago Studio set sold by Montgomery Wards in 1899 as the “New Era Studio Set”.
We arrived back home to Toronto 24 hours later, and settled in the new addition with the rest of our collection. Our new found treasure, now displayed tall and proud for all to see in the centre of A Nerd’s World. We look forward to using it in the future, to experience the pleasure of the oldschool photographic process. However, in the mean time, we are happy to share a piece of early photography history with everyone who enters the shop. We may not be a museum, but as we save more antique cameras we may become one – one day.