American Optical Co., Scovill Mfg. Co., props.

Date Introduced: – ; Years Manufactured: c. 1885
Construction: rear focus via push-pull; double swing; reversing by removable back; three-piece lensboard
Materials: mahogany body; cherry base; black fabric bellows; brass hardware
Sizes Offered: at least 8×10
Notes: This exact camera has not yet been found in advertisements.  The camera name has been made up to describe it.  The camera is similar to the Scovill “Acme”, only better finished in the usual American Optical manner.  It has the typical American Optical, Scovill Mfg. Co. props. silver plated label, and is also stamped American Optical on the lensboard and the base.  A simple thumbscrew makes the bed rigid, so it pre-dates the 10-20-85 rod and cylinder patent.  The back is reversible and held by two dowel pins at the bottom and two brass clips at the top.  In turn, the ground glass is held into the reversible back by two dowel pins at the bottom and a single spring-loaded pin at the top.  To expose a plate, the ground glass frame must be removed and replaced by a holder having the correct two holes at the bottom and a brass plate with a hole at the top.  This back design is identical to that on the 1885 vintage Ripley Camera, although this camera is not advertised in the same catalog as the Ripley.  The similar in design Landscape Camera was introduced in 1895, and has the later improvements of the rod and cylinder bed device and a spring back. The small brass lever at the rear of the camera releases the entire rear of the camera from the track for swing.

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