Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

The Tourist Hawk-Eye Camera

Blair Camera Company

Name: Tourist Hawk-Eye
Manufacturer: Blair Camera Co.
Country of Origin: USA
Construction: A leather covered wooden format folding camera, in two formats: horizontal and vertical, each taking a different film size (see below). Leather bellows.
Production Period: 1898-1904
Image of Blair Tourist Hawk-Eye cameras Click on the thumbnail on the left to open a large picture in this window.
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Model / Variant: Horizontal format
Plate / Film Size: 3" x 3" rollfilm
Lens: Achromatic built into standard, with slider to change through 3 fixed apertures.
Shutter: Built-in shutter, with basic T & I operation
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1898
Serial Number: Serial #696 stamped into leather on front of the camera.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 420

 

ClicPic Photos copyright 2015 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
Click small picture to enlarge.   ClicPic Gallery Software.

Description

The Tourist Hawk-Eye camera manufactured by Blair Camera Company has the lens and shutter built into the standard. The outside of the front is impressed with "The Blair Camera Co / Makers" and the serial 696.

This example may be a fairly early model based on the low serial, but it is difficult to be precise about its date. The estimated date of c1898 is based on a listing in a catalogue produced by Blair for that year, where the diagram is a close match to this camera.

The leather body shows significant wear on the top face, where the covering over both hidden buttons has completely worn away. However the buttons still work (one with a wooden dowel, the other a brass closure).

The square sectioned tapered bellows are a wonderful red wine colour and in excellent condition, inside & out.

An interesting feature is the built-in film counter, which is a mechanism that is built into the removable back.

~ # ~ # ~

Model / Variant: Vertical format, advertised as "The 4 x 5 Tourist Hawk-Eye"
Plate / Film Size: 4" x 5" rollfilm
Lens: Single achromatic lens built into standard, with slider to change through 3 fixed apertures.
Shutter: Built-in shutter, with basic T & I operation
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1900
Serial Number: Serial #1189 stamped into leather on rear of the camera
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 624

 

ClicPic Photos copyright 2015 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
Click small picture to enlarge.   ClicPic Gallery Software.

Description

The 4 x 5 Tourist Hawk-Eye is a vertical format folding camera that resembles the smaller horizontal format camera of the same name that I have in the collection (#420). It may be a fairly early model, but it is difficult to be precise. Best guess is c1900.

The lens and shutter are built into the standard. The outside of the rear panel is impressed with "The Blair Camera Co / Makers" and the serial 1189. The leather body shows a fair amount of wear, especially on the side face with the handle, where the covering over both hidden button has completely worn away. However the button still works to release the back.

The square section tapered bellows are a wonderful deep red colour and in good condition.

As with the smaller horizontal format version, this example also has a built-in film counter, which is a mechanism that is built into the removable back.

Notes

The 1898 Blair catalogue commends the smaller horizontal format camera as being ideal for the cyclist, "as it can be carried safely on the frame, the same as an ordinary tool-bag". This reflects the emerging fashion at the time for people to take up cycling as well as photography.

The photograph below shows the two alternate forms of the Blair Tourist Hawk-eye camera, as detailed on this page.

Image of Blair tourist Hawk-Eye cameras

The same 1898 catalogue reports that the 4 x 5 version "without any question, is the smallest in existence for the size of Photo". The 4 x 5 size also had the option of a plate adapter, which could be fitted interchangeably with the back cover.