Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Quta Photo Machine, c.1904-11

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell.
Wood Cameras9 of 283Student Camera No.1 (with accessory rock): late 1880s - 90sBlair Tourist Hawkeye Camera.  1898 - 1904
Love it
Like it

SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
mcheconimcheconi loves this.
RichmondLoriRichmondLori loves this.
vintagelampvintagelamp loves this.
Chevelleman69Chevelleman69 loves this.
AntigueToysAntigueToys loves this.
MooreAntiqueMooreAntique loves this.
crswernercrswerner loves this.
Mr.hartmannMr.hartmann likes this.
hotairfanhotairfan loves this.
f64imagerf64imager loves this.
JohnKratzJohnKratz loves this.
sanhardinsanhardin loves this.
Beachbum58Beachbum58 loves this.
sugargirlsugargirl loves this.
vintagegirl66vintagegirl66 loves this.
trukn20trukn20 loves this.
leighannrnleighannrn loves this.
DesignerDesigner loves this.
farmladyfarmlady loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
shughsshughs loves this.
oldpeepoldpeep loves this.
Lady_PickerLady_Picker loves this.
LongingsLongings loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
blunderbuss2blunderbuss2 loves this.
BenBen loves this.
FoundaroundtownFoundaroundtown loves this.
CisumCisum loves this.
dav2no1dav2no1 loves this.
AnythingObscureAnythingObscure loves this.
See 32 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 2 years ago

    (343 items)

    I'm reposting the "Quta Photo Machine" tintype camera because another camera collector (Mike) gifted me a special accessory and I wanted to share it. (Then again, my photography over the past 10 years has improved and this camera deserved a reshoot!) A couple months back Mike sent an email asking for my address. About a week later a small parcel shows up and inside was a true surprise; an incredibly rare, unopened box of Quta branded ferrotype plates! Of course I called Mike to thank him. Amazingly, he found and acquired another example of this rare camera (there aren't many) and it came with a couple boxes of plates! Mike felt I should have a box for my camera. In over 30+ years of collecting, I've always been impressed with the camaraderie, generosity and helpfulness in the camera collector community. This is one such example.

    About the Quta Photo Machine ... back in 2004 I bid live (by phone) in an Austrian auction of photography equipment and won. The camera is relatively unknown, quite rare, and fit one of my collecting themes to acquire creative American designs. Let's face it, the camera name is as strange at its design.

    A c.1906 advertisement claims it; "Produces a complete picture in frame in less than a minute." Does this marketing slogan sound familiar? Maybe more than you think. A little over forty years before Edwin Land's landmark announcement of the Polaroid camera that made "A Finished Picture in 60 Seconds," a new style of camera--a tintype street camera--was changing how people perceived and accepted photography.

    For a rapidly growing group of itinerant photographers, gallery quality images were not the desired goal. Instead, the objective was to make money by making pictures. The allure and excitement of being handed an image a minute after the picture was taken, regardless of the image quality, kept people coming back for more. (Refer to testimonial in 1905 reference: image #4.)

    Prospective Quta owners were also enticed by advertisements claiming that the camera's portable size was ideal "for use at the seaside and other places of public resort, such as Fairs, Summer Resorts, Excursions, Lawn Parties, Exhibitions, Bazaars, etc." As far as operational simplicity; "A child can learn to operate it in two lessons, no previous knowledge whatever of photography being required."

    Because there are only a few of these cameras, it's unknown if the Quta Photo Machine lived up to the marketing hype but, interestingly, there must have been some type of licensing agreement in Europe. Two English campanies advertised their own versions (i.e. Fallowfield's "Popular" Automatic Ferrotype Camera) and, in another collection, there is a nice example of an English model branded for the French market.

    Regardless of its success or failure, this camera and others like it must have evoked feelings of excitement and anticipation while waiting to see a picture in less than 60 seconds; the same feelings we got with the old Polaroids and today with digital cameras.

    Wood Cameras
    See all
    Polaroid SX-70 Model 2 - Walnut Wood Replacement Cover
    Polaroid SX-70 Model 2 - Walnut Woo...
    Extremely Rare Gandolfi Stereo Tailboard Half Plate Camera Mahogany Brass c.1885
    Extremely Rare Gandolfi Stereo Tail...
    Tiny 1880's Rochester Optical 4x5 Wood Tailboard Camera Outfit For Glass Plates
    Tiny 1880's Rochester Optical 4x5 W...
    Extremely Rare Shew Eclipse London Quarter Plate Camera Mahogany Brass c. 1890
    Extremely Rare Shew Eclipse London ...
    Polaroid SX-70 Model 2 - Walnut Wood Replacement Cover
    Polaroid SX-70 Model 2 - Walnut Woo...
    See all


    1. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 2 years ago
      How fascinating rneiderman -- THANK YOU for today's 'something I never would have known before'?!! :-) :-) :-)
    2. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, AnythingObscure! I feel the same way about many postings. I learn a lot.
    3. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    4. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    5. JohnKratz JohnKratz, 2 years ago
      Another incredible post! How does one pronounce Quta?
    6. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, John! I have no idea how to pronounce Quta. FWIW, after acquiring the camera, I researched Quta and its etymology. There are some very odd references to Quta as a translated word but none of it makes sense. Maybe it's made up like "Kodak."
    7. JohnKratz JohnKratz, 2 years ago
      Thank you sir! I'll just keep saying "cue-tah" then!
    8. hotairfan hotairfan, 2 years ago
      very interesting ... great write-up.
    9. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    10. Mr.hartmann Mr.hartmann, 2 years ago
      Amazing. Thanks you for displaying your collection
    11. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, Mr.hartmann!
    12. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    13. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    14. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    15. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, mcheconi!
    16. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, Sean!

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.