Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Improved Reversible Back Camera

Blair Camera Company

Name: Improved Reversible Back Camera
Manufacturer: Blair Camera Co.
Country of Origin: USA
Production Period: 1889 - 1895 (according to McKeown [1])


Plate / Film Size: 5 x 7 plates
Lens: 8½" x 6½" W.A. Eurygraph, Barker & Starbird, with wheel stops to f11
Shutter: None
Movements: Tilting back and rise & fall front.
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1895
Serial Number: Serial 205 stamped onto inner surface of the baseboard in two places.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 352


Mahogany front focussing field view camera, with nickel plated fittings. The camera has an extension piece to allow the focussing track to be increased. Black cloth bellows, which are in good condition (some minor corner wear and a little grubby). Tilting back and rise & fall front.

The woodwork is in nice order with only two obvious but minor signs of damage: there is a sliver missing on the front corner of the extension and a split near one hinge on the main folding trackway, which is not visible when the camera is unfolded for display. The nickel plated fittings are pitted and discoloured, though sound and presentable.

The lens is gorgeous, fitted with its wheel stop and an original (though unmarked) velvet lined leather lens cap. The reversible back has an interesting release mechanism, with a large release catch. The ground glass screen is still present and in good condition.

The whole camera is very sturdy, and well made. The inside of the back carries three different patent dates, not all legible, but from 1881 onwards.

<Photographs to be added>


Some camera by Blair do turn up in the UK market as some models were exported for sale in the UK.  However a camera such as this is far less likely to turn up in the UK market, unless acquired by a collector, and it is generally necessary to seek these out in the US (as was the case in this instance).