Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Milburn Korona Camera

Gundlach Optical Company

Name: Milburn Korona Camera
Manufacturer: Gundlach Optical Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Superior quality hand and stand camera; black leather over a wooden frame.
Production Period: 1894 - ?


Plate / Film Size: 5 x 7 plate
Lens: Gundlach Optical Co 5 x 7 Sym f8
Shutter: Gundlack Optical (1 - 1/100)
Movements: Rising and cross front. The latter is in two stages: one on the main lens standard itself and a second adjustment on the front of the lens box. It also has a tilt and swing back.
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1896
Serial Number: None on camera or lens
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 553

<Photographs to be added>


The Milburn Korona Camera, also known as the Korona Hand Camera, was initially manufactured by the Milburn Camera Company. Gundlach had only made lenses up until 1896 when they acquired the Milburn Camera Company. They had previously supplied lens and shutters to Milburn.

The Milburn Korona Camera was first advertised by Milburn in 1894. It has a number of advanced features, notably the fold-up rear panel and the front focussing arrangement.

The back panel on the camera completely folds up over the top of the camera to expose the whole ground glass. Two extra plateholders could be stored in a pair of specially designed metal brackets attached to the inside of the back. These are missing on this example, although screw holes are visible on the inside of the back where they presumably once were located. This design allowed the plateholders to be carried out of the way when the back was opened.

The front focusing arrangement was also unique and very unusual. When the camera was opened, the front standard could be drawn out to a bar that was secured across the focusing rail. This bar can be preset for different types of lenses, which allowed the photographer to quickly get a subject into focus. The moving bar is intact and the assembly is in good condition.

The camera incorporates a lens box mounted within the lens standard that could be focussed independently. Fine focusing was achieved by turning a pinion over the top of the lens box to move it forward. It has a separate focussing scale on the top face.

The camera has a drop bed with a joint, permitting it to be bent down for using wide-angle lenses. While the mechanism is intact, it needs to be handled with care as the leather is a little fragile. This design was a feature also found in the satchel style Folding Kodak Cameras of the same period.

The camera has rising and cross front. The latter is in two stages: one on the main lens standard itself and a second adjustment on the front of the lens box. It also has a tilt and swing back.

The camera has a viewfinder attached to the lens standard.

Other examples are shown or described with red bellows. This has black (or at least very dark maroon) bellows, although they appear to be original.

The inside of the camera is in very good condition and looks marvellous when open. The outside faces however are not in the same condition. Small patches of leather are missing and have been hidden by the leather being dyed; this is obvious with the camera in your hands but was not so obvious (or declared) in the original eBay description / photos!

The button release for the front door has been repaired with a patch of leather.

The shutter operates correctly, but is a little sluggish. The lens shows separation around the edges.

The camera came with 3 Rochester Optical Co 5 x 7 DDS.


I am assuming that this example was made after the takeover of Milburn Camera Company by Gundlach. The lens carries Gundlach markings only - there is no mention of Milburn. Compare this one with Rob Niederman's lovely example on his web site. The shutter on his example states that it was made by Gundlach for Milburn. Note too that his example is complete with the metal brackets on the rear panel to carry the DDS.