Seneca Camera Manufacturing Co., Rochester, NY

Seneca View Camera, Improved, Variation 1



Date Introduced:  ; Years Manufactured: c.1895-c.1900
Construction: back and front focus via rack and pinion (two gear tracks on top of the base rails); double swing; reversing by removable back; 
Materials:  mahogany body, polished nickeled brass hardware, cherry base, black lacquer finish
Sizes Offered: at least 5x7;

     The Improved Seneca View underwent minor changes during its long run.  For simplicity, these changes are divided into four variations (the numbers of which, unfortunately, have changed over the years as new variations have been discovered), based on the shape of the forward-backward swing hardware on the side of the rear standard.  There also has been a change in the length of the first front base extension vs. the second front base extension, which has been ignored for the purpose of assigning variation numbers (Were this to be included, the number of variations would be so great as to be a hindrance to understanding, rather than an aid to understanding).

     As with their other models, camera finish was available in 1) brownish-red mahogany stain and clear lacquer, or black-pigmented lacquer (called ebony finish).

Seneca View Improved Variation 1: Swing hardware has its thumbscrew in a slot halfway up. c.1895-c.1904.  This shape of swing hardware is thought to be the first type, but is not confirmed by catalogs, because it is identical to the hardware on the very early-looking Seneca View Variation 1.

Seneca View Improved Variation 2: Swing hardware has a teardrop-shaped finial.  Thumbscrew is at the bottom.  c.1904-c.1925.  This is the version shown in the many extant Seneca catalogs.  It is described as patented in 1904.

Seneca View Improved Variation 3: Swing hardware has a simple round finial, medium size.  Thumbscrew is at the bottom.  Not in catalogs; thought to be later than Variation 2 since it is simpler in design and thus easier (cheaper) to manufacture.

Seneca View Improved Variation 4: Swing hardware has a simple round finial, similar to that in Variation 3, but smaller.  Thumbscrew is at the bottom.  Similar reasoning to Variation 3.


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