Posted 4 years ago
Before collecting American cameras exclusively, my collection included English cameras because of their exceptional craftsmanship. One of the lesser known view camera styles that I always found interesting is the "side-strut" body pattern. English built Shew cameras, by James F. Shew, London, were the standard of this design.
Side-strut cameras were popular because they could be folded into a very thin form to easily fit into a vest or coat pocket. The camera shown here is a ¼-plate (3¼ x 4¼ inch) format. It is made of highly polished mahogany, maroon leather tapered bellows, lacquered brass and includes a Darlot lens mounted in Shew’s novel coiled spring instantaneous shutter.
Established in 1849, J.F. Shew is believed to have been in business until 1920. His popular side-strut designs were copied by French builders.