Posted 4 years ago
Shown here is the only complete set of all three Horsman view cameras in a collection. Although simple in appearance and function, there is an understated beauty in their clean designs of polished cherry woods.
By the late 1880s, beginners and students were showing great interest in photography, and makers responded by building simpler and less expense equipment to cater to this growing market. The equipment was typically devoid of advanced features and are the essence of classic American field camera design. E.I. Horsman was one of several American camera builders that offered entry level field view cameras. In addition to cameras, Horsman also sold lawn tennis equipment and bicycles.
The first two cameras (on the left) are entry level models: The No.2 Eclipse (c.1888 - 1900), is a tiny 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 inch camera with paper bellows and cardboard inserts to adjust the light level. It is amazing any of these survived intact!
The second camera is the larger No.3 Eclipse made in a 4-1/4 x 6-1/2 inch format. The last of the Eclipse family is a more sophisticated No.33 (on the right) and is rarest of all models. It has features for amateurs and a unique add-on lens board that can be rotated 360 degrees and shifted to create a deeper focusing range.
As an interesting side note, the No.2 and No.3 Eclipse cameras were also sold by Sears Roebuck and are listed in their 1897 catalogue.