Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Ensign Midget (Silver Jubilee)

Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.

Name: Ensign Midget (Silver Jubilee)
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Metal bodied miniature folding camera, based on the standard Ensign Midget, but produced in a silver finish in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
Plate / Film Size: E10 rollfilm
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l): 7.5 x 4.5 x 1.7 cm
Production Period: 1935 (see Notes)

The Ensign Silver Midget camera was introduced as a special celebration version of the general Ensign Midget range and was available in both the Model 33 and Model 55 variants. The two models are shown side by side below.

Image of Ensign Silver Midget cameras (Models S/33 and S/55)

The camera was sold in a special presentation box and had a grey leather slip case rather than the usual black.

The manufacturer is identified as Houghton-Butcher inside the removable back of the camera.

For more information about the camera, please refer to the general Ensign Midget page on this site.

Model / Variant: S55
Lens: Focusing Ensar-Anastigmat lens
Shutter: Simple T, B & I (3 speed) shutter
Date of this Example: 1935
Serial Number: Serial H 15862 on support stand.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 174

 

ClicPic Photos copyright 2014 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
Click small picture to enlarge.   ClicPic Gallery Software.

Description

This example of the Ensign Silver Midget (Model 55) shows some signs of wear through use on the camera body itself, with remains of glue from tape of some sort that has obviously been applied over the red film window at some point in its life.

The camera is complete with its original grey leather slip case and cream and purple bound display box, although the latter shows signs of edge damage and brown speckling (foxing) on the top surface.

~ # ~ # ~

Model / Variant: S33
Lens: Fixed focus 'All Distance' meniscus, with 2 apertures settings
Shutter: Simple T, B & I (3 speed) shutter
Date of this Example: 1935
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 605

 

ClicPic Photos copyright 2014 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
Click small picture to enlarge.   ClicPic Gallery Software.

Description

This example of the Ensign Silver Midget (Model 33) is in very fine condition, with very little sign of use and only very minor damage to the silver finish along the lower edge of the lens panel.

The camera is complete with its original grey leather slip case and the top half of the cream and purple bound display box, although the latter shows a little edge damage along what was the hinge line where it joined the base of the box (missing).

In addition, the camera came with the lower half of the cream coloured outer packing box, which has "33" stencilled on one end.

Notes

The silver models turn up from time to time, but their condition varies quite significantly. The silver finish is prone to showing wear and seems to rub off the base metal fairly easily. Be very careful if you attempt to clean one of these cameras as you could easily damage the surviving silver paint.

The Model 33 seems to be much harder to find than the Model 55, which is curious as the Model 33 was advertised beyond 1935, and one might therefore expect that it would have sold in greater numbers.

The presentation boxes are quite fragile and it is very much harder to find the camera with its box. I don't recall seeing more than 2 or 3 examples in the last 10 years. I have as yet to see one where the lid and base are still joined. The top was hinged to the base by a strip of the purple edging paper, which is not very strong.

The picture below shows the instruction booklet opened out to show both the front and back covers, which is clearly a Model 33.

Image of Ensign Midget instruction booklet

I have a second example of the model S55 in good condition, although the short bar that should protrude from the lens to aid focussing is missing, which had led me to believe it was a model 33 when I bought it without looking carefully enough! The serial number of this second example is H 15384.