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Stockwell 4” x 5” View Camera, c.1875

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mtg75's loves1340 of 2666Anthony Novelette Field Camera: 1880s1937 Harley WL45
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    Posted 7 years ago

    rniederman
    (322 items)

    Sometimes you regret the ‘one that got away’ ... you know what I’m talking about. Either you missed an opportunity completely or didn’t bid high enough in an auction (and so forth). And if the item was to fill a hole in your collection, it gnaws at you for years. This unique example of a c.1875 view camera made by Nathan Stockwell (Bainbridge, NY) was one that got away.

    It appeared on eBay sometime in 2003. The seller’s pictures were awful yet one other collector (a friend) and I saw the potential of this camera being a truly iconic piece. So we bid. Knowing the other bidder quite well I knew that chances of winning were futile and resigned myself to a loss. Seven years later the camera was offered to me and the Stockwell is no longer in “the one that got away” category.

    It’s a small 4” x 5” American field camera made of walnut (very unusual) with screws reinforcing the joinery. There is a nice flourish of shape between the body and base giving the camera a bit of style. It is also a system camera (image #3) that could piggyback accessories atop its solid bed. Add in the marvelous blue-green pebbled bellows contrasting the brown walnut color ... oh my!

    For those of us into early gear, most any 1870s American camera has a mystical appeal. The ‘70s was transitional time of photographic technology in which dominant wet plate chemistry started giving away to a more convenient dry plate process. At the same time, the classic tailboard field body pattern (fixed front with focusing rear) was being refined into the popular design synonymous with the 1880s and 1890s.

    Major American makers such as Anthony, American Optical, and Scovill were familiar names but enterprising builders also tried their hand at camera manufacturing during this decade of change. Enter Nathan Stockwell and George W. Parker; two entrepreneurs who opened a photograph gallery sometime in early 1872 in the small town of Bainbridge, NY. The gallery itself was short lived and according to a Bainbridge historian, the gallery was advertised in the 1872 issues of the Bainbridge Republican but not listed in the May 1871 or 1874 issues.

    So here it is, the only known camera made by Nathan Stockwell; patented, professionally built and stamped with a maker’s I.D. and serial number. Where are his other cameras? No one knows.

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    Comments

    1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      very beautiful Rob !!! and Happy Easter!!
    2. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Sean and Happy Easter to you!
    3. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      Your very welcome Rob!! and Thankyou :)
    4. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, aghcollect!
    5. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50!
    6. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Leah and Happy Easter!
    7. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, blunderbuss2!
    8. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Michael!
    9. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Phil!
    10. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, farmlady!
    11. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Eric!
    12. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Leah!
    13. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, sugargirl!
    14. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Longings!
    15. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, mtg75!
    16. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, f64imager!
    17. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, michaeln544!
    18. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Windwalker!
    19. Windwalker, 7 years ago
      Thanks for showing them ....... have you had to do much restoring on them your self .. or you buy them all looking like they just came off the shelf.....They are some lovely ............
    20. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Good question Windwalker. All cameras I have posted here in CW are in their original condition. Believe me, there are plenty of rub marks, wood cracks, leather wear, etc. But my goal is to acquire the best of the best. You are looking at the culmination of nearly 30 years of collecting and there has been a lot of purging and upgrading along the way when better examples show up. Unless absolutely necessary, I do not believe in restoration. I will do 'preservation' on fragile leathers as a proactive measure or to slow down deterioration (i.e. dry rot). In these situations, archival methods are used. A couple wet plate field cameras posted here retain all of their glorious collodion staining. Have a look at this wetplate camera - far from pristine:

      http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/80767-ferrotype-bon-ton-view-box-1870s-an

      In the future, I'll post a Henry Clay Stereo. The exterior is poor and suffering from missing leather and dry rot. However it's in my collection because it's historically important and there are only 3 examples known.

      And I agree, many are lovely and some cameras' wood finish rivals fine furniture. Craftsman had a lot of pride back in the day.
    21. Windwalker, 7 years ago
      Great come back.... lol you must put a lot of time just keeping them up ....do you do shows anywhere or special event's to show others what's out there in the world of fine handmade camera's .....I feel the same way about old books , I cant pass on an old book that has great print or paper by great book makers and others with water marks.. just because the binding is ruff ,,,,lol but I have nothing to that comes close to your great collection ...So its nice to follow you and your collection and learn about each one ,,,

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