As I have previously mentioned, most of the cameras in my collection were either inherited, given to me or purchased very cheaply, usually for a fiver or less. This one though must have taken my fancy as I seem to recall that I paid £35 for it, however, it was thirty or more years ago so may not be recalling the facts correctly. It came from a bric-a-brac come antique shop near Cheltenham and at the time I had a lot of dealings with this interesting emporium, usually enamel signs of which they always seemed to have an abundance, particularly large ones no one else was interested in; sorry, digressing. I must have had a rush of blood to the head as the camera is not complete and does appear to have one non-original part.
Of undetermined manufacture possibly, but not necessarily, by Bausch & Lomb the camera is of the glass plate variety taking plates of 3″ x 4″. The shutter and aperture mechanism is by Bausch & Lomb Optical Co as engraved below the lens and which also states Pat App’d. Shutter speeds are from 1 second to 1/100th pus T and B and the diaphragm opens from f6.8 down to f45. The lens is 120mm and made by C P Goerz of Berlin in Germany. The camera has one of the Bausch & Lomb’s Automat shutters which had pneumatic controls, one cylinder to connect a bulb’s flexible tube and the other to regulate shutter speed although one of the cylinders is missing from my camera so the shutter is permanently open. I think I liked this camera because of its ornate vertical and horizontal shift arrangement, the knurled screw on the top of the pillar operates the up and down movement of the lens and the screw at the lower of the pillar moves it sideways in either direction. There is no provision for altering the angle of the lens to the focal plane. The waist level viewfinder looks as though it is not original, it looks too new compared with the rest of the camera, but I may be mistaken. The other thing that is missing is the frame that holds the glass plates, this would have slotted in to the rear after composing your picture through the ground glass screen. Overall length of the camera is 10″ with the rear hood opened for viewing and it stands 5¼” tall.
Working out a date of this camera has been a little difficult, but as Bausch & Lomb started to use their own lenses on their shutter assemblies and cameras after 1913 we can assume this camera predates that. Further research would also suggest that this particular lens arrangement with the speed settings below the lens was introduced in 1901 and altered to a different arrangement in 1906 so we have a possible five year period during which this camera was probably manufactured. There is some information on Bausch & Lomb’s early history on the internet, they are still in existence manufacturing contact lenses and eye care products.