Posted 4 years ago
This is a very small American field camera (front focusing pattern) that makes 3¼” x 4¼” images on glass plates. I was baffled by it for a long time and then realized it was a Mignon based on catalogue descriptions. At this time, I know of no other examples of this cute camera.
This stunningly beautiful camera is constructed of lovingly polished mahogany and includes a fine wide-angle brass lens, two-section wooden case and five plate holders.
The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera appeared in catalogues into the 1890s and, as with my Anthony Bicycle Camera (also posted on CW); it is odd that this also seems to be the only known example. At this point my opinion is that these really early bicycle cameras didn’t appeal to cyclists.
Price of a complete Mignon outfit (including lens, universal joint bicycle attachment and canvas saddle bag) was $70 in 1886; about $1,761 in 2012 currency ... a very pricy outfit at the time! Maybe the cost of an outfit was simply too steep for touring cyclists. By 1888, the outfit price dropped to $50.