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Ingersoll Shure Shot Detective Camera, c.1897

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell and Cameras > Box Cameras > Show & Tell.
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Posted 6 years ago

(289 items)

Collectors know that Robert H. Ingersoll is best known as a successful mass marketer that issued catalogues of $1 "specialties." One of his best-known and popular items was the "Yankee" watch introduced in 1892 with the Waterbury Clock Company. A couple fine examples are posted on CW. Their slogan was; "The Watch That Made The Dollar Famous."

Lesser known is that Ingersoll marketed a tiny, primitive box camera before 1900 called the Shure Shot Detective Camera. At the time it was advertised as; "The Cheapest Snapshot Camera In The World."

The Shure Shot is definitely an inexpensive camera that lives up to its billing. It's small, cheap, and has no viewfinder or other features. It's nothing more than a 3" x 3" x 3-7/8" polished wood box with a meniscus lens, simple spring shutter at one end and a removable back for 2½" x 2½" glass plates.

Not surprisingly, Ingersoll's small camera was advertised in 1897 for $1. The company also made a 3¾" x 3¾" model (refer to second image) and "Improved" black leather covered version.


  1. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, BELLIN and Phil!

    Phil ... what's interesting with the Ingersoll is that the plates were inserted directly into the rear of the camera. In other words, the camera had to be reloaded in a darkroom after each picture since it didn't use plateholders.
  2. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks kerry10456, Belltown, officialfuel, Eric, and AR8Jason!
  3. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks Hardbrake and walksoftly!
  4. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    Thanks, petey!
  5. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
    Thanks, aghcollect and Sean!

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