Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Swing Folding Camera

Busch Camera Company (London)

Name / Model: Swing Folding
Manufacturer: Busch Camera Company
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Conventional folding plate camera, constructed of mahogany with leather covering
Production Period: TBC


Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: B & L Rapid Rectilinear
Shutter: Kodak Ball Bearing (3 speed, B, T)
Movements: Rear tilt and swing
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1905
Serial Number: No obvious serial on the camera or shutter assembly
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 625


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The camera is marked with a round badge on the base board identifying the maker as the Busch Camera Co, London and carrying the "Tribees" name in the centre. "Swing Folder" is shown on a name plate below the lens. The Tribees name appears to be a generic name used for a number of cameras produced by the Busch Camera Company from about 1900.

The shutter seems to be a bit of an anomaly, given that it is Kodak and dates to about 1910. Since the camera has a removable lens panel (now stuck fast), it seems likely that the original shutter was replaced during the working life of the camera.

The camera has a swing back, with ratchet controls operated by hidden buttons on two faces to allow tilt and swing. It also has a cross and rising front. It is presumably this feature that leads to the name of the camera itself. The camera back is sprung to allow DDS to be inserted rather than being removable (a necessary choice to accommodate the tilt and swing mechanism).

The tapered bellows (chamfered) are double extension, with metal loops attached part way down the bellows to allow them to be pulled up tight to prevent sagging. The lens standard pulled out onto the main rail, which then h as a rack and pinion controlling the extension. There is a T-shaped level fitted to the baseboard and fittings that obviously originally took a viewfinder (now missing) that could be moved through 90 degrees for portrait or landscape use.

The camera fittings are all nickel plated, which is in very good condition. There is a fold down viewfinder fitted to the lens standard - or at least that what I assume it is, although it seems quite small.


Refer also to the "Cycam" by the same maker, which also bears the "Tribees" name, although this time only stamped into the inside of the removable back.