Posted 5 years ago
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.