Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Folding Cornex Camera

R. J. Beck Ltd

Name: Folding Cornex
Manufacturer: R. J. Beck Ltd
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Mahogany body, covered in black leather. Folding camera of standard design, but of distinctive shape. Option to use plate or rollfilm
Production Period: 1905 - 1913 (see Notes)

 

Plate / Film Size: plate or rollfilm for exposures 3 x 4"
Lens: Beck-Steinheil Unofocal Series 1 No 3 F=4.75" (serial 13137)
Shutter: Compound (1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250 & T)
Movements: Rising front
Dimensions (h x l x w): 22 x 4 x 12cm (closed)
Date of this Example: c1908
Serial Number: No obvious serial marking.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 662

Description

The Folding Cornex is a folding rollfilm camera for plate exposures on standard rollfilm. A plate back was available as an option, but is not fitted on this example. The camera has a leather covered mahogany body, "screwed to withstand the tropics" according to the advert in the 1909 BJPA. Focus scale is adjustable for plate or film, but curiously on this example is marked in meters rather than feet. A film / plate adjustment is fitted on the lens standard base that changes the position where the camera locks into the infinity catch that is integrated into the baseboard.

View finder fitted to top corner of lens standard that can be rotated for portrait or landscape mode. A rising front is fitted. The camera has single extension red leather bellows.

The advert in the 1908 BJPA advertises it as "A reliable 'London-made' plate pocket Roll Film or Plate Camera (Daylight Changing)".

All adverts identify a variety of shutters and Beck lenses that could be fitted. The combination fitted to this camera is not listed in any advert found so far. The lens appears to be marked as f6 on the scale, where adverts show this lens as f4.5, while the Steinheil Orthosigmatic was available as f6.3. However it is likely to have been a relatively expensive camera thus fitted.

The basic model with a Beck Symmetrical f8 lens in a Unicum Gem shutter is advertised in 1908 at 2 19s 6d, while the f4.5 Steinheil in Unicum shutter is 9 12s 6d.

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Notes

"Cornex" was a name used by Beck for a number of camera designs, and was not just limited to a range of falling plate or magazine cameras. The name was also used for other camera styles including a twin lens reflex, and a rollfilm camera.

The first reference I can find to the camera is in the 1905 BJPA. The last reference found is in 1913 BJPA. The early form does not show a tripod mount on the side of the casing; this is shown on the revised line drawing that appears in the 1908 BJPA and is present on this example.