Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Ensign E29 Box Camera

Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.

Name: Ensign E29 Box Camera
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd. and later (from 1930) by Ensign Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Wooden bodied box camera with access from the rear, finished in black or blue leatherette
Production Period: TBD


Model / Variant: E29 (blue)
Plate / Film Size: Ensign E29 rollfilm (3" x 2")
Lens: Not known
Shutter: Simple T & I
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1930
Serial Number: None
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 24

Image of Ensign E29 Box Camera


Label inside rear of camera identifies the makers as "Ensign Limited formerly Houghton Butcher (G.B.) Ltd." This camera was made for distribution through premium schemes; I have not seen any evidence to suggest that it was was ever sold as a retail item.

The camera retains the portrait attachment that can be swung across the front of lens. The instructions note that the portrait attachment could be provided separately.Another example on eBay recorded the following comment …

A note on the box tells us that "Owing to the unprecedented demand for portrait attachments, we are out of stock - your attachment will be sent under separate post." The note is from the Daily Herald Gift Dept. (The Daily Herald was a daily national newspaper).

The camera came with its original mail carton (orange cardboard), although this shows some water staining to the front.


These cameras quite often turn up with their original packaging and documentation, often relating to their use as premium cameras. Given that the packaging consisted only of corrugated cardboard, it is quite surprising that it survives as often as it does.

Image of Ensign E29 Box Camera with Packaging

Refer also to the "J-B Ensign" camera for E20 films, which has a very similar format. The two are shown side-by-side below.

Image of Ensign E29 and J-B Ensign Box Cameras