Scovill Mfg. Co.

Date Introduced: – ; Years Manufactured: c. 1882
Construction: rear focus via push-pull; no swing; reversing by two tripod mounts; three-piece lensboard
Materials: brass hardware, black fabric bellows
Sizes Offered: #A=4×5; #B=5×8; #C=5×8 stereo and single
Notes: These are described as light, compact and easy to carry about.  The beds probably folded, although the catalog is mute on that point.   All came with Waterbury lenses with flange, . These appear to be identical to the Dry Plate Equipments #1-3, except that #1-3 were advertised to have single achromatic lenses instead of Waterbury (single achromatic) lenses.  The A-C and 1-3 were the same prices, but since they are advertised in the same catalog on successive pages, there probably was some difference.  The above photos are of a 5×8″ camera. It may or may not be this model, but it does match the known features, and, without a reliable engraving to go by, identification is tentative.  Parts of this camera are made of a fleck-figured wood (shown above), which is quarter-sawn sycamore.   This wood is also found on the Scovill New York (601-603) Camera.  This camera is almost identical to the 5×8″ Putnam Marvel, except that the Marvel has single swing, whereas this camera has no swing.  Its Waterbury lens has insertable stops held in place by a wire spring, visible in photo 3 above.  The bed lock is via a thumbscrew rather than patent side clamps, which may mean that it was made prior to the patent (20Oct1885), or merely that this is a cheaply made camera that doesn’t rate patent clamps.   The base on this camera is long; 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.  This camera has interior slots to fit a septum, and so could be used as a stereo camera.
Walsl Cat., 1882, p. 51

Elwood Caldwell

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