Scovill Mfg. Co.

Unknown Model (sycamore wood, folding platform, no swing with drop shutter)


5 x 8, Serial No. 342 (rear standard) / 548 (ground glass frame)

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Stamp on the lens board: "Scovill Mfg. Co., N.Y."
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Stamp on the rear base rail
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Close-up of the quarter-sawn sycamore wood
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5 x 8, Serial No. 534
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Stamp on the lens board: "Scovill Mfg. Co., N.Y."
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Stamp on the rear base rail
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Close-up of the quarter-sawn sycamore wood

 

Manufacturer: Scovill Mfg. Co., New Haven, CT factory
Date Introduced:
- ; Years Manufactured: c. 1882 - 1885
Construction: rear focus via push-pull; no swing; reversing by two tripod mounts; three-piece lens board
Materials: quarter-sawn sycamore body, cherry platform, brass hardware, black fabric bellows
Sizes Offered: #A=4x5; #B=5x8; #C=5x8 stereo and single; D=6x8
Notes:

     This is an inexpensively made camera, very similar to the Ne Plus Ultra Folding Platform.  The only difference is that it is made from quarter-sawn sycamore wood, a semi-hardwood having a striking pattern when quarter-sawn.   This wood is also found on the Scovill New York (601-603) CameraThe back is made of the same wood, not painted black like the Ne Plus Ultra or Favorite.

     The bed lock is via a thumbscrew (like the Ne Plus Ultra) rather than patent side clamps (like the Waterbury, which may mean that it was an early model, made prior to the side clamp patent (20 Oct 1885).

     Each has an appropriate nickel-plated Waterbury Lens Variation 1, another indication of an early origination.

     The cameras have long platforms - when folded up, it extends at least 2" above the top of the camera.  Most cameras of "tailboard" construction possess bases that reach exactly the top of the camera when folded, thereby being more compact.   The case has been made taller to accommodate the height.  It has interior slots to fit a septum for stereo work. 

     Strangely enough, of three out of four examples that I have examined, all have a slot for front rise, but only one has its thumbscrew to lock the rise.  The others do fit tightly enough for rise adjustment without the thumbscrew.  Is this merely a coincidence, or did Scovill purposely leave out the thumbscrew, even after cutting the slot?  The fourth one, with a thumbscrew, is Serial No. 133 shown below.

     Each of two of the shown examples, Serial No. 342/548 and Serial No. 233, are associated with an identical American Optical Scovill's Safety (drop) Shutter.  That the shutters are identical implies that American Optical/Scovill sold a set combination of camera & accessories - an outfit, which was probably advertised as such.

 

References:
The Photographer's Friend, Richard Walsl (Baltimore, MD), 7th edition, 1882, p. 51 (A, B & C only)
Catalogue No. 7, T. F. Indermill, St. Joseph, MO, Oct. 1, 1885, p. 97 (A-D) (but the description is not specific enough - may be referring to the Favorite)

 

5 x 8, Serial No. 233

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Drop Shutter (front)
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Drop Shutter (rear)
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6 x 8, Serial No. 40

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Maker's Stamp on rear of platform
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Serial or Assembly Number Stamp on top of ground glass frame
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