Posted 8 months ago
I first saw this camera two decades ago and knew it was special. Twenty years later it's now in my collection.
This Flammang’s 5 x 8-inch format stereo field camera made by the American Optical Company (AOC) probably isn’t supposed to exist. It is not in any factory literature. No serial or build-lot numbers are stamped into the wood body. Yet all construction details including the maker’s I.D. plate are correct.
At this time, this the only known 100% original stereo version of Mathias Flammang’s field cameras. The camera also includes an 1889 Bausch & Lomb shutter with single lens for regular photography.
This camera also has a unique single-speed wood and brass stereo shutter unlike anything I’ve seen in decades of collecting. When released, a heavy brass coiled spring spins a wood blade 180 degrees like a fan or a helicopter blade.
Construction is a little heavier than Flammang’s single lens models. So … why is a removeable back needed when Mathias Flammang already patented a rotating ground glass frame that could be oriented for portrait and landscape pictures? (FWIW, Flammang's cameras do not have removeable backs.) My belief is that a format-reduction back could be used in place of the 5 x 8 back.
AOC has a history of accepting custom camera orders. Or maybe it was a factory test to assess a stereo model.