Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Popular Ensignette

Houghtons Limited

Name / Model: Popular Ensignette, Model J.S.
Manufacturer: Houghtons Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Bedless strut camera. Metal body, with a detachable back to load / unload film.
Production Period: 1922 - ?


Plate / Film Size: Ensign 2¼B rollfilm (3¼" x 2¼")
Lens: f11 lens, iris diaphragm to f32, fixed focus
Shutter: Simple single speed shutter, with I, B & T settings, type unknown
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l): 8 x 15.5 x 3 cm (closed)
Date of this Example: c1922
Serial Number: Serial number 1968 stamped in the inside of the removable back (the '9' might be a malformed '8').
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 677


The Popular Ensignette camera is a bedless strut camera of simple metal construction. The camera name is shown on a plate fixed to the top edge of the body. This is an example of the basic model that was produced, identified in the documentation as "Model J.S.". Refer to the Notes below for further information.

This example is equipped with a simple single speed shutter, with timed and bulb settings. The camera is fitted with a viewfinder that can be rotated through 90 degrees to suit portrait or landscape format. A support stand is fixed to the lower edge of the lens panel allowing the camera to be supported in its vertical (portrait) format. There is no tripod bush fitted.

The inside of the removable back has an orange Ensign label advising the user to load Ensign 2¼B roll film. In common with other Ensign cameras, it employs removable carriers to hold the film spools in place.

The camera came with its original instruction booklet that applies to all models of the camera (see Notes below). While the booklet is now a little tatty at its edges, it is still complete.

This example is in surprisingly good condition, with little damage and only a few signs of wear to the metal surface.


The instruction booklet applies to all models of the Popuilar Ensignette camera. It describes three models: the basic model shown on this page is identified as "Model J.S.", while it also describes models A.C. and A.S., both of which have a shutter that provides speeds of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100. The two more superior models also have leather covered bodies, although the front lens panel is still plain.

There are examples of the other two models of the Popular Ensignette on the Early Photography website. This shows two distinct shutter / lens combinations, one with an f/8 lens and the other an f/11, but the cameras themselves do not show the model type, so it is not yet clear which is model "A.C.", or model "A.S.". As yet, I also do not know what the letters in each model designation stand for (if anything).

Examples of the Popular Ensignette camera turn up from time to time, but is quite difficult to find one in good condition. The leather covered models are a little easier to find than this basic model.