Posted 4 years ago
This Bo Peep camera by the Manhattan Optical Company is another camera that used to be in my collection and recently rediscovered in some old pictures (long before digital photography was available).
Self-casing, red bellows folding cameras such as this Bo Peep were originally a uniquely American design and very popular throughout the 1890s. While there is no context to show its size, this was one of the largest self-casing cameras in my collection that accommodated a 6½ x 8½ inch glass plate format – which is quite rare and large for what was considered a portable design. Actually, it was (and is) the only example I have seen.
This Bo Peep was a beautiful camera with great expanses of polished mahogany wood and brass hardware. The Manhattan Optical Co. marked shutter had a solid brass construction and was fully operational. Optics were perfectly clear.
Regrettably when I sold the camera and shipped it, the U.S. Postal Service destroyed the box and camera. Given how well I packed the camera and the resulting damage, I imagine postal workers were playing soccer with the box. The maroon leather bellows was shredded, wood front standard snapped apart, hinges torn from the body, etc. FWIW, I always ship with insurance; which was paid but it took time to process the claim.
Sadly, camera was beyond repair and this photograph is its only record.