Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Pecto No 1

Columbia Optical & Camera Co

Name: Pecto No 1
Type: Hand & Stand
Manufacturer: Columbia Optical & Camera Co.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Standard American pattern of self-casing hand camera with a sprung back to the dark slide. Viewfinder on baseboard, which can be swivelled to allow shots in landscape or portrait.
Production Period: Unknown, although sales ceased in 1902 (see text)


Model / Variant:  
Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: Unknown; three different apertures available, selected by a lever on the top edge of the lens standard.
Shutter: Built into the lens standard; T, B & I (single speed)
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1898
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 568

<Photographs to be added>


The camera has a clear label at the back of the baseboard identifying it as the Pecto No 1. The maker is not identified.

McKeown lists the Pecto No 1 camera under the Columbia Optical & Camera Co and its format is entirely consistent with other examples seen previously. The camera is an American pattern hand camera, with sprung holder for the DDS (not typical of English made cameras of this type).

Channing & Dunn do not have much information on the Columbia Optical & Camera Co but refer to a letter from a director in 1902 relating to the discontinuation of the photographic business and the sale of all stock of American Pecto, Columbia and Century cameras. The question is - which American company made the cameras for them? It is similar in form to a number of American hand cameras (such as those by Ray) but not the same as any I have as yet seen!

The camera is in fine condition with bright nickel plated metalwork, deep maroon bellows and polished wood inside. The leather is also in very good condition. It has a viewfinder mounted on the baseboard, which can be flipped for portrait / landscape use. It has two narrow 3/8 inch tripod bushes.


This example of the Pecto No 1 camera was bought in Germany. Other examples of this camera, as well as other Pecto models, have been seen from time to time listed in the UK.