Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Box Ensign 2¼B Camera (Rapid Rectilinear)

Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co. Limited

Name: Box Ensign 2¼B camera
Type: Box Camera
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co. Limited
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Ensign 2¼B is a conventional box camera design of cardboard and wood construction. Hinged rear door provides access to the film carrier, which has to be removed to load the film.
Production Period: Unknown


Model / Variant: Brown wood effect cloth covering
Plate / Film Size: 2¼B Ensign roll-film (120)
Lens: Rapid Rectilinear with 3 stops on a sliding bar
Shutter: Simple single speed flip-flop shutter with T & I setting
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1926
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 614



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The Box Ensign 2¼B camera is of a conventional format, with hinged rear door that provides access to the metal film carrier. It is of simple construction, being formed from cardboard that is covered with a brown simulated wood cloth covering. A brown leather handle is embossed with the Ensign name. The name of the camera is embossed into a roundel above the lens. The maker's name is embossed on the rear door.

This is the more expensive model fitted with a rapid rectilinear lens. A cheaper model was available with a simple meniscus lens, but was otherwise identical. The basic model is more common.

The camera has two built in finders for landscape and portrait use, but also has a wire frame finder attached to the front of the camera, as was quite common in this period.


This camera was a continuation of a series of simple box cameras produced by Houghtons, such as those that can be seen here.

There were a number of cameras produced by Houghtons Ltd that adopted this brown simulated wood finish, such as the Rollfilm Reflex, and it also appears on other later cameras such as this one after the merger with W. Butcher in 1926.