Posted 4 years ago
One of the things I enjoy about collecting early cameras is seeing the different ways photographers advertised their services. The earliest photographers - daguerreotypists - typically sent assistants to hang broadsides in the towns they would be visiting. (Early broadsides are great collectibles.) Over the years, I’ve seen and collected an assortment of photographic advertising ephemera including print ads, photo images of businesses (building signage, horse-drawn darkroom wagons, etc.), manufacturers’ sample photo cards, photographers posing with their cameras, calling cards / CdVs, and so forth.
Then there was E.B. Nock of Cleveland, OH. (USA) and his highly unusual advertising method; floating a small side wheel riverboat model in Cleveland’s Public Square. It was certainly a novel way to get everyone’s attention.
According to Nock’s great-granddaughter: “The boat was in the pond at Public Square [Cleveland] from about 1875-1900. He had been a cook on a river boat when he was young and entertained passengers in the evening by playing his guitar. A photographer offered to teach him photography if E.B. would show him how to play the guitar. I believe this is why he used the boat for advertising. The man who raised the flag on Public Square would wind the boat mechanism as well so the figure could move around the decks.” (Source: Quote is from an email sent by Nock’s descendant to the image dealer who sold me the stereoview.)
This stereoview shows the tree stump fountain in what is (or was) known as the “E.B. Nock” quadrant and Nock’s three-foot model boat. Look closely and you can see a seated photographer with a tripod mounted camera on the upper deck. Nock was a well known photographer and his popular advertising riverboat was a curiosity that attracted people from miles around to come see it.
Anyhow, it would be outstanding to find the actual model boat and add to my collection!