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Midget Camera by Rochester Optical (c.1889 to 1902)

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Posted 6 years ago

(292 items)

This camera is interesting for a couple reasons; first, I first discovered it on the Collectors Weekly website (eBay links). This was significant because I’ve been searching for this obscure item for over 10 years. Thanks, CW! (Another reason to love this website.)

The Midget has an intriguing folding design in which the entire camera is barely bigger than its glass plate holder. Although the design is quite unusual and it folds into a very small form, functionally, the camera is not very ‘friendly’ and difficult to make rigid.

While advertised for ladies, tourists, bicyclists, and canoeists, the relatively high price ($28 for the 4x5 format) might account for its relative rarity because only a couple examples are known.

Finally, there are two accessories that make this an exciting camera, but unfortunately I do not own them. The tripod (sold with the camera) looks like a cane when folded. The second accessory is a leather case which turns the Midget into a concealed ‘detective’ camera.

One complete outfit (camera, tripod, holders, and detective case) is known; but I am happy to own this fine example with the original ROC spring shutter (often lost).


  1. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks officialfuel and all!
  2. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, Scott!
  3. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, AntigueToys!
  4. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    Thanks, debbiepike54!
  5. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    Long overdue thanks to Sean!
  6. rniederman rniederman, 5 months ago
    Thanks, oldpeep!

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