Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Dollond Owl No 3

Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.

Name: All Distance Pocket Ensign
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Metal bodied folding camera, finished in black leather".
Dimensions (w x h x l):  6½ x 3¼ x 1⅝"
Production Period: TBD


Date of this Example: c1927
Plate / Film Size: 2¼B (E20) rollfilm
Lens: Lukos Anastigmat f6.3 F=10.5cm Serial 152891
Shutter: "Trichro" Shutter, 3 speed, T B settings
Movements: None
Serial Number: "F 21810" engraved at one of focus scale
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 602


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The Dollond Owl No 3 camera is a leather covered, steel bodied camera made by Houghton Butcher (marked on shutter as H.B.M & Co Ltd), sharing many common features with other Ensign cameras of the same period. The Dollond owl No 3 appears to be based on the No 3 Ensign Carbine.

The name is embossed into the leather on the back of the camera, but is also shown on an elliptical shaped badge that is fixed to the underside of the rail that carries the land standard and then shows through a similarly shaped cut out in the baseboard so it is visible when the camera is closed. This coincides with the location and shape of the Ensign badge that appears on the face of the baseboard of the equivalent Ensign models.

The camera has a sports finder as a well as a standard reflecting finder. It has a focusing scale marked in both feet and meters. The nickel plated focus scale also has "F 21810" engraved at one end - it is assumed that this is a serial number.

The side clips forming the hinged spool holders carry patent number 281802, as seen on other Ensign cameras of this period. The inside of the back the camera is marked with UK patent 280352, as well as equivalent US (1709782) and German (486989) numbers, which relates to the pressure plate that is raised into position when the cover over the red window is closed.


Dollond Owl No 2 camera (1931 BJPA Advert)
Dollond Owl No 2 camera (1931 BJPA Advert)

These cameras are quite hard to find. The 1931 BJPA carried a section of advertisements for Dollond and Aitchison featuring various equipment but includes a full page for the Dollond Owl No 2 camera, also for 120 film. This again is clearly a re-badged Ensign camera.

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Dollond merged with Aitchison in 1927 according to their web site. Earlier BJPAs list Dollond in the directory of the photographic trade. The 1931 advertisement shows an Owl logo on one of the pages, suggesting this was their company logo and therefore accounting for the choice of name for the camera. Aside of selling cameras under their own name, the advert from the 1931 BJPA makes it apparent that they were also selling second hand equipment.

Dollond Advert from 1931 BJPA showing Owl logo