Posted 4 years ago
This is a sampling of early multi-lens field cameras in my collection. They range in dates from the mid-1860s (the 9-lens collodion camera) to after 1900 (the Royal Mail 15-lens postage Stamp Camera). Years ago, I saw a stunning camera with 36-lenses but was unable to acquire it.
Multiplying cameras were invented in the mid-1800s as an inexpensive way to create multiple pictures on a single plate. What’s interesting is that the camera with the most lenses isn’t necessarily the biggest. The two lens camera (front row) by Anthony is a classic 5 x 8 inch format field style that makes stereoviews.
The larger 9-lens and 4-lens cameras (rear row center & right) have wide backs that allow the plate holder to shift horizontally and vertically to cover a single 5 x 7 inch tintype plate with lots of small ‘gem’ images. I have a couple uncut tintypes posted here on CW. The 15-lens Royal Mail Stamp Camera (smallest of the group) makes postage stamp size images on small 3¼ x 4¼ inch plates.
Wood construction is primarily polished (lacquered) mahogany bodies mounted on cherry bases; and they display nicely with accessories such as uncut tintypes, magnifiers and such.