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Harrison Camera Factory Globe Lenses Case

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Posted 7 years ago

(1 item)

Globe Lenses Tin Box - by the Harrison Camera Factory
-Measures 14" wide x 6.75" deep x 11" tall
-Hand drawn and colored label on the front- on paper attached to the tin
-photographs of C.C. Harrison and I. Schnitzer attached to the paper
-tin is painted black, perforated on both sides
-top is painted with the words, " Globe Lenses " and "put up by C.C. Harrison and I. Schnitzer"- painted in red and gold
-hand painted handle- red and gold
-the front label contains a hand drawing of a factory and a camera, in addition to ornate patterns and designs surrounding the words, " Harrison Camera Factory- sole proprietors for C.C. Harrison's and I. Schnitzer's Patent and Improved and very celebrated GLOBE lenses for photo-graphic-use. Office at No.458 Broadway, New York, USA." In small letters at the sides it states, " licensed according to act of congress in the year 1868". Note- 1868 could say 1863 but it looks more like 1868.
-one label affixed to each side of the tin- stating, "Harrison Camera Factory, Office, 458 Broadway, NY...C.C. Harrison and I. Schnitzer GLOBE LENSES, (patented in the United States, England and the Continent). More detailed description follows..and ends with "Nelson Wright, 458 Broadway, New York"

This is truly a beautiful tin case with an interesting history. Obviously a lot of time was put into the decoration and painting of this tin.

I do have some questions that I would love answers on:
1. what was this case used for? storing lenses for promotional or marketing purposes?
2. if the date says 1868 as it appears, that is after the death of C.C. Harrison and from what I've read, the globe lenses were not sold by the Harrison Camera Factory - they were bought by other companies. Is the date really 1863 perhaps or is the info I have read inaccurate or incomplete?
3. I thought the first initial of Schnitzer was "J." for Joseph not "I." Why does it state "I." in multiple places on the tin?
4. has anyone seen one of these before? Because of the amount of detail in the drawing, it appears to be a completely unique item.

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
    This is an unusual item, and it's difficult to say if it's a plain ole tin box and added labels with advertising paint or truly something from the Harrison Factory. Regardless, I would rule out the potential of it holding a lens or other fragile camera items. For example, lens cases are typically lined wood boxes fitted to the lens to absorb impacts and provide lots of protection.

    Without actually handling the box, my opinion from the pics is that it might be a promotional item a photographer carried around. Given its size, you would ask; 'what would it hold?' I checked in with a friend who is an expert on early photographic optics. We agreed it wasn't designed to hold a lens. Maybe it held a dark cloth (the thing a photographer puts over their head).

    Yet looking closer and seeing the holes on either side, it makes me wonder if these serve as vents. If so, maybe the box held bottles of chemistry. Assuming the box dates from the late 1860s to 1870s, photography was deep in the wet collodion period and dry tintypes were new. Either way, photographers needed to travel with a plethora of chemistry to develop plates on the spot. And as an FYI, photographic collodion chemistry is nasty stuff. So ... is there any residue inside the box?

    In summary, I'm leaning toward the box being a promotional item carried around by a photographer or similar... at least for now. Regardless, it's pretty cool. - Rob
  2. brickmasterjoey, 7 years ago
    i have did auctions and antiques for years my brother sold a bunch of old cameras and i beleive it held the film like a dark room they were square and the box would hold them i beleive

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