Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

'95 Hawk-Eye Camera

Blair Camera Company

Name: '95 Hawk-Eye
Manufacturer: Blair Camera Co
Country of Origin: USA
Construction: Leather covered wooden box camera for plates.
Production Period: 1895 - ?


Plate / Film Size: 4 x 5 plates
Lens: Unknown
Shutter: Dual speed shutter
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l): 6⅔" x 7" x 8"
Date of this Example: 1895
Serial Number: No evidence of any serial number.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 103


The camera consists of a box-within-a-box fitted with internal bellows, with focussing via a rack and pinion mechanism. Leather covered although the surface may have been 'lacquered'. Metal reinforced corners. Side door to allow access for plate holders (screen and one DDS intact, the latter having a patent date of Sept 2nd 1884), with typical Blair hinges.

Makers name marked on outside of side door (but not distinct). Patent dates inside door are not legible, not helped by small areas of leather that are missing.

Handle is intact and strong. Two viewfinders and focusing scale exposed once camera racked out.

A contemporary advert states that "the front section is projected by turning a small knob, and a length of bellows is thus obtained that will permit the use of any ordinary 4 x 5 lens." The camera is advertised for use with glass plates, cut film or an Improved Roll Holder for transparent film (12 to 50 exposures).

ClicPic Photos copyright © 2009 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
Click small picture to enlarge.   ClicPic Gallery Software.



The camera initially defied identification other than its manufacturer.  It was finally identified after extended search and discussion with the late (and much missed) Eaton Lothrop Jr.

A copy of the Blair advert for this camera can be found in 'Photographic Advertising from A-to-Z'.

This is an unusual camera and quite scarce.  I have not yet seen another example.