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Strange Early Camera... What is It?

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell.
Cameras1014 of 1297Vintage Kodak Film CanistersRevere 8mm projector
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Posted 7 years ago

(1 item)

Hello everyone! I'm new here.... and I sure hope someone can help me gather a little information on this EXTREMELY cool wood camera. Although I'm pretty good identifying other primitive looking items, I know nothing whatsoever about this camera.... or ANY camera. But here's what you may need to know: (Oh... and I have many more photos, if needed.)

The cabinet is 23" high x 5" wide x 12" deep. All hardware is original. All screws are flat head and range in size and type. There do not appear to be any nails. I do not see any remnants of glue. I believe all wood to be original. I can't tell if there are dovetail joints on the cabinet itself, as everything is extremely tight, but there are no screws to be seen. Everything inside the cabinet - except the spool - is painted with an odd black paint.

It has a Wollensak USA Betax No. 2 lens. Patent date on the back is 1912. It is attached to the camera itself with a threaded, adjustable brass "collar". It has a timer, which appears to work, and was set to hold the aperture (?) open all the way, which is huge.

The large roll of paper appears to be negative paper, as I have left a few small pieces of it out on the table, and after a short while they turn increasingly. The paper is a tad shiny on one side, and very flat on the other, being about "business card" thickness in weight.

The giant "wing nut" on the back of the cabinet rolls the paper forward on a tension-adjustable, embossed spool, and when turned 2 or 3 (I forget) full times, you hear a loud CLICK. There is a small spring activated cutter inside the box that notches the paper. It also, apparently, lets the photographer know the exact paper position for the next photograph! But there's more. I couldn't figure out what the brass pull-knob on the back of the camera was for, until I turned the camera upside down and pulled the knob. It's a guillotine - style paper cutter, also spring activated, which just happens to cut on the exact same line where the paper was previously notched. Amazing.

The hardware for keeping the cabinet closed is missing, although easily replaced. The bottom of the cabinet has two large holes drilled through, as though it had been mounted on something. A tripod or table, perhaps?

So that's it, folks! That's all I can think of to tell you. It is truly an amazing and quite sophisticated little thing! Can anyone tell me who, what, why, where, or when? Thanks!!!

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