Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Ticka Watch Pocket Camera

Houghtons Limited

Name / Model: "Ticka" Watch Pocket Camera
Manufacturer: Houghtons Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Nickel plated brass body in the shape of a pocket watch (about 2 inches in diameter), with the lens mounted in the barrel. The film was held in a cassette. The film winder and exposure counter were sited on the side of the body. The cocking lever for the shutter and the release button are on the edge.
Production Period: 1905 - 1939 (according to Lothrop, A Century of Cameras [5])

The camera was invented by Magnus Neill, New York and was made initially as Expo Watch Camera by the Expo Camera Co., New York.  Houghtons had the manufacturing rights in Britain and sold the camera under the "Ticka" name, but they also manufactured a number of accessories for it.

Plate / Film Size: 17.5mm rollfilm mounted in cassettes (25 exposures ⅝ x ⅞")
Lens: Meniscus, f16
Shutter: Simple T, I guillotine shutter, built-in behind the lens.
Movements: None
Dimensions: 2 inches in diameter x ⅞ inch thick.
Date of this Example: c1910
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 470

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Description

Pocket watch style camera, made under licence from Expo Camera Co, for 25 exposures on special cassette film. This example has its lens cap & chain intact.

Apparently the viewfinder was sold as an optional extra and varied in form over the years. Rather than being the more usual 'chimney' style of reflective finder that is viewed from above, this one came with a viewfinder in the form of a clip-on glass finder that you look through directly.

The camera is in very good order generally, with just a few minor rub marks to the metalwork and no obvious dings.

It came with its original box and tissue paper wrapping. Box has some marks and a little scuffing to the artwork, but is generally in very good order. It also has an unused film in its original box with matching artwork. Instructions for the camera are missing, but it has a narrow fold up sheet describing the making of prints.

Notes

The Ticka camera turns up from time to time, although the condition can vary quite a lot depending on how much handling it has had and the degree to which the surface has tarnished. It is not uncommon to find the camera still with their original packaging, although this inevitably inflates the price (unless you are very lucky).

The Expo cameras are also comparatively common in the US where they were made in large numbers over a period spanning more than 30 years. Again, the Expo quite often turns up with its original packaging, which is far less pretty than the Ticka version in my opinion as it consists of a fairly plain black box.