Posted 2 years ago
In contrast to my last post of an attractive 5x7 inch format, ebony finished American self-casing camera, this 5x7 model made by the Blair Camera Company (Boston, Mass.) represents the classic style collectors normally find; nicely polished mahogany wood interior, deep maroon leather bellows, and lacquered brass hardware.
This body style, known by collectors as a self-casing pattern, is a unique American creation started in 1890 by Kodak. The self-casing body pattern proved to be quite popular and was copied widely by numerous American and European makers. All-in-all, this style of amateur glass plate camera dominated 1890s U.S. sales until supplanted by simpler, less expensive roll film cameras.
For some reason, this particular camera by Blair is extremely rare which baffles me given public acceptance of the style. The Blair Camera Company was a successful operation yet it was their roll film cameras from the late 1890s to early 1900s that dominated their attention.
In 1896, the 5x7 inch Blair Special Folding Hawk-eye sold for $50 with the higher grade B. & L. iris diaphragm shutter shown here. That’s about $1,360 in 2012 currency!