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Vest Pocket Format Monroe Camera, c.1898

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Belltown's loves424 of 1093Atterbury 'Hand With Dove' covered dish, c.1889Small Pottery Vase
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    Posted 5 years ago

    rniederman
    (307 items)

    I often comment how cute small wooden cameras are and here is a fine example of a pre-1900 pocketable camera predating today's little point-and-shoot digital cameras.

    Shown is a tiny, (quite scarce) strut-style, bellows folding camera made by the Monroe Camera Company of Rochester, NY. As you can see, it fits easily in hand and sized just right for a vest pocket (as intended).

    First introduced in 1897, the Vest Pocket Monroe (or No.1 as it is sometimes called) represents one of the earliest "vest-pocket" style cameras. It takes pictures on 2 x 2½ inch glass plates or sheet films.

    This particular model is the smallest and rarest of the series selling for $5 (about $137 in year 2013 currency). It measures 2¾” wide x 3½” high x 4½” in length when fully open. The camera has a maroon leather bellows (very thin and fragile), black leather covered body, brass plate holders, and its original box.

    The unusual bedless design with scissors style struts and thin bellows helps the camera fold down to a svelte 1½" thin including the double plate holder! But due to the shearing action of the struts when opening and closing the camera, almost all examples of these Monroe cameras are found with torn or much worn bellows.

    Comments

    1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      "STUNNING"!!!
    2. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      Sean
      aghcollect
    3. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      I just watched "Smash his camera" the film about Ron Galella. It's very interesting and he took some wonderful pictures on the fly. What do you think?
    4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      A real CUTIE !!!!
    5. gluepot gluepot, 5 years ago
      Was the Vest Pocket Kodak named after this, I wonder?
    6. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      PatSea
      fortapache
      Michael
      blunderbuss2
    7. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, valentino97! I haven't seen the film about Ron Galella but will keep an eye out for it. But I do know he was one of the most successful and controversial paparazzi. Some of his pictures are borderline iconic.
    8. jscott0363 jscott0363, 5 years ago
      Incredible, to say the least!! I love this little camera.
    9. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      vetraio50
      Eric
    10. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      walksoftly
      toolate2
    11. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      Ben
      JohnK
    12. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Brett. Good question ... I don't believe Kodak named their 'vest' cameras after this Monroe model. "Vest" was added to names for marketing reasons so that prospective buyers knew the cameras were smaller than normal to fit into a vest pocket. Several companies included the term 'vest' in model names.
    13. gluepot gluepot, 5 years ago
      Thanks for your response Ron. I wonder which was the first to use the "Vest" or "Vest Pocket" name?
    14. gluepot gluepot, 5 years ago
      Sorry, I meant to write Rob.
    15. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Brett ... Without having done extensive research, I believe the first use of the term "Vest" in a camera name goes back to 1885. Robert D. Gray (NY) sold a "Vest Camera." It is a large all metal disc shaped body with a lens at the top. It was designed to be worn under a vest. The lens was mounted at the end of a cone that would peek through a button hole. A year later (1886), Stirn (NY and Germany) offered their version: Stirn's "Concealed Vest Camera" ... which is more well known to collectors.
    16. gluepot gluepot, 5 years ago
      Ah yes, Rob, I've seen the latter in books about cameras, but hadn't equated them with the "Vest Pocket" types. I'll have a bit of a dig and see what I can come up with.
    17. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      Longings
      Nordicman32
      jscott0363
    18. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      michaeln544
      sugargirl
      luckywest
    19. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      Kydur
      trukn20
      kyratango
    20. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      chrissylovescats
      Designer
    21. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, shughs!
    22. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, pops52!
    23. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, crswerner!
    24. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      All the best to YOU & YOURS over the Festive Season RNIEDERMAN !!!!!
    25. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50! I too hope you have a great holiday season.
    26. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Lady_Picker!
    27. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, leighannrn!
    28. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, DerekToye!
    29. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Thanks!
      courtenayantiques
      KevinEBest
    30. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Thanks!
      Roycroftbooksfromme1
      trunkman
    31. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Thanks, Camera_turk!
    32. Celiene Celiene, 3 years ago
      Amazing!
    33. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      aura
      Celiene
      SDCameraFan
    34. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      jscott0363
      GeodeJem
    35. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, VintageArgentina!
    36. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, Nicspawee!
    37. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, thegatherer!

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