Posted 6 years ago
Today it is not uncommon for marquee brands to attract first time owners by introducing lesser featured versions of their flagship models. Using the automotive industry as an example, Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes have all created fine products with lower price points.
This practice was very common with camera makers in the 1890s. Scovill & Adams’ premier high-end amateur camera was the Henry Clay introduced in 1891. But the market was limited for a $50 - $55 camera and a less expensive ‘2nd’ (aka ‘2D’ or ‘Second’) model was introduced at a lower price point of $15. An 1896 review of the newly announced model says it all:
“To supply the demand for cheaper instruments the series of Henry Clay Cameras, manufactured by the same firm, has also been extended. The “Henry Clay Second” is not unlike the popular favorite, “The Henry Clay,” and while its finish may not be so attractive, yet one must consider the fact that it is sold for the same price as the new Waterbury camera, i.e., $15. The Scovill & Adams Co. certainly deserve considerable praise for their enterprise. To manufacture such instruments as these at a price placing them within reach of the smallest wage-earner requires erection of special and costly machinery.”
Although the strategy worked for competing companies such as Kodak and Rochester Optical, the 2nd didn’t quite hit the mark and, as a result, its lifespan was a short two years. All-in-all, only a couple examples are known of this camera and its exotic brass shutter (which I really like).
And yes, the camera works and can shoot pictures.