Posted 6 years ago
The Rochester Optical Company sold its Premo B camera from 1894 to 1902. The 1897 Sears catalogue called the Premo B, "...one of the most popular hand cameras on the market. It is strictly high grade throughout....."
The Premo B came in two sizes, 4x5 and 5x7. Made for amateurs that wanted to own a well made camera capable of good quality images at a mid-range price.
About a year ago, I purchased a very fine example of the Premo B with its original cardboard box. Like other antiques and vintage collectibles, the box is more valuable than the item (camera) itself.
Over the nine year run of this camera model, there were minor updates and modifications made over the years. Using Larry Pierce's superb website of camera catalogues, this particular example can be identified as being an 1897 model. How ? Looking through the 1894 to 1902 catalogues, only the 1896 and 1897 catalogues list the Premo B in 4x5 size with Victor shutter and rapid rectilinear lens at the price of $ 21.00 (on box label). Next, comparing the 1896 catalogue entry to the 1897 entry, it revealed that only the 1897 model had a singular folding hinge (located on the right when facing the camera). In 1896, the camera shows two hinges.