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Mignon Bicyclists’ Camera by the American Optical Company; c.1886

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ChePibe's loves11 of 42Woolley Sons & Co., James. | "The No.2 Victoria Outfit." | 1889. | Half Plate.Anthony Champion Stereo (c.1888) with historically important 1872 lenses
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    Posted 7 years ago

    rniederman
    (312 items)

    This is a very small American field camera (front focusing pattern) that makes 3¼” x 4¼” images on glass plates. I was baffled by it for a long time and then realized it was a Mignon based on catalogue descriptions. At this time, I know of no other examples of this cute camera.

    This stunningly beautiful camera is constructed of lovingly polished mahogany and includes a fine wide-angle brass lens, two-section wooden case and five plate holders.

    The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera appeared in catalogues into the 1890s and, as with my Anthony Bicycle Camera (also posted on CW); it is odd that this also seems to be the only known example. At this point my opinion is that these really early bicycle cameras didn’t appeal to cyclists.

    Price of a complete Mignon outfit (including lens, universal joint bicycle attachment and canvas saddle bag) was $70 in 1886; about $1,761 in 2012 currency ... a very pricy outfit at the time! Maybe the cost of an outfit was simply too steep for touring cyclists. By 1888, the outfit price dropped to $50.

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    Comments

    1. Bootson Bootson, 7 years ago
      Another wonderful camera! I don't know but suspect bikes back then were real "bone-shakers". Maybe they had problems keeping the glass plates from cracking.
    2. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, mustangtony!
    3. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Bootson! And you bring up a good point about the bikes.
    4. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, blunderbuss2!
    5. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50!
    6. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Henry!
    7. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
      The more I see your cameras the harder it is to keep from beginning a collection myself, rob!

      scott
    8. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Sean!
    9. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      Your very welcome Rob!!!!
    10. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Eric!
    11. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, walksoftly!
    12. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Scott!
    13. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, f64imager!
    14. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Hardbrake!
    15. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Sean!
    16. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Moonstonelover21!
    17. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, ChePibe!
    18. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, februarystarskc!
    19. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Brett!
    20. Signaholic Signaholic, 7 years ago
      Very cool camera Rob, you are definitely finding the cool stuff!
    21. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Perry ... my collection is a culmination of nearly 30 years of acquisitions, hunting, refining, purging, more hunting, writing articles, even more hunting, etc.
    22. Signaholic Signaholic, 7 years ago
      Wow, you ought to be an expert with what you have there.
    23. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
      HE IS sign!

      If you have have a camera/ photo question, rob is your man! He has proven to be a great resource for me and lots of other folks on this forum.

      scott
    24. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the compliment, Scott!
    25. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
      Well deserved-- I appreciate all of the camera ID help you have provided.

      scott
    26. Signaholic Signaholic, 7 years ago
      Great to hear Scott and thank you! We have a few cameras around the house, mainly as display pieces. Not really any great value to them ( they are early portable Kodaks) but they are fun to find and look at.
    27. Signaholic Signaholic, 7 years ago
      One is the Vest Pocket which if I'm right was a very popular camera when it came out and a Autograpic Brownie.
    28. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Perry ... now you're obligated to post your cameras. And here's a link to a 2008 interview when I first met these cool CW folks: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/guest-column-an-interview-with-antique-wood-camera-collector-rob-niederman/
    29. Signaholic Signaholic, 7 years ago
      Great read on your article btw. Never knew these wood box cameras were so varied.
    30. rniederman rniederman, 7 years ago
      Thanks, aghcollect!
    31. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, windwalker!
    32. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Overdue thanks to Manikin for the 'love'!
    33. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Thanks, Oroyoroyisthatyourhorse!
    34. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
      Thanks, Lisa!

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