Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Billcliff Field Camera

Billcliff, Joshua

Name: Unknown Field Camera
Manufacturer: J. Billcliff
Country of Origin: United Kingdom (Manchester)
Construction: The camera is of good quality, made largely using Spanish mahogany with small dovetail joints. It has tapered square section maroon bellows. It has a rotating back, solid baseboard (with tripod bush) and the unusual feature of the lens board being removed from the uprights in order to fold the camera away.
Production Period: Unknown

 

Variant: Rotating back<
Plate / Film Size: Whole plate
Lens: Unmarked f8 lens with iris
Shutter: None
Movements: Rising front, tilting back with swing and rotating back.
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1890
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 546

<Photographs to be added>

Description

Full plate field camera identified initially as Billcliff by the patent number 13956 that is shown on a small circular badge on the back. This relates to a patent for a rotating back, as fitted to this camera, that was taken out by Billcliff in 1885.

The camera is of good quality, made largely using Spanish mahogany with small dovetail joints. It has tapered square section maroon bellows, which are in fair condition but have pin-holes at several corners.

The other feature that shows it up as a Billcliff is the use of ebony inlay on the edge as reinforcement, as used on the Chapman "The British" camera.

It has several unusual features. The front lens standard detaches from its uprights when folding the camera. The left hand rail (looking from the back) has a hinged section at the front that swings pout sideways, released by a thumbscrew at the front of the camera. This appears to allow the inner focussing frame to be removed. But why?

The camera has a rising front, tilting back and swing. The rotating back is a little stiff, though it does move.

The ground glass screen is intact. The camera is equipped with a tripod bush, surrounded by three arced sectors cut out of the baseboard, presumably intended to hold the tripod top in place.

The lens is unmarked.

Camera complete with one DDS.

Notes

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