Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Royalty Camera

London and Paris Optic and Clock Company

Name: Royalty
Type: Field Camera
Manufacturer: London and Paris Optic and Clock Co
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Mahogany and brass field camera with double extension square section tapered black bellows. It has a two alternate fixing positions for the front standard and an unusual clamping method (refer to main text). This example is brass bound.
Production Period: Unknown

 

Model / Variant: Unknown
Plate / Film Size: plate
Lens: None
Shutter: None
Movements: Rising and tilting front; tilting back with limited swing
Dimensions (w x h x l): 22 x 21 x 6.5 cm
Date of this Example: c1895
Serial Number: No obvious serial on the camera itself. 1517 written in pencil on the face revealed when the back is lifted away.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 524

<Photographs to be added>

Description

The precise identity of this camera is a little uncertain. The only mark that provides any firm identification is "Royalty" being stamped into the underside of the tripod turntable, but this is insufficient evidence by which to make a firm identification. The camera carries a plate stating "Made in England for Baker & Rouse Ltd, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide & Brisbane". However it is almost identical in form to the Royalty camera on the late Eric Evan's web site (last accessed Feb 3, 2017), although he too is unable to identify the variant.

The date given here is a guess based on the style of the camera and the fact that the rack and pinion has parallel, rather than spiral teeth. This change came about in 1895 for Watson cameras, so perhaps was generally true in the industry at around this date?

The Royalty camera is a fairly conventional plate field camera, with additional brass binding around the rear section. The turntable is a little unusual as it is sold filled, rather than being the more usual hollow frame. In fact the solid fill has some damage, with an irregular hole that is visible on the inside of the camera when unfolded.

The camera was clearly intended for sale in the Australia; ironically, it was bought from the US, having been acquired some years earlier by the collector (on eBay) from a dealer in New Zealand! The previous owner did not know any more about its history.

The camera does not have a lens or ground glass screen. The brasswork is generally in good order, with lacquer that has a very strong orange colour to it, but appears to be original and largely intact. The square section, double extension, tapered black bellows are in good condition, with no obvious damage or repairs. The camera came with one unmarked DDS.

The lens standard can be fixed in two positions to suit different lenses. The lens standard can be pulled forward to the very front of the body, allowing a locking bar fixed below the lens to be turned to lock into a thin slot built into the frame. The assembly is made rigid by tightening the side stays. An alternative is to position the lens standard at about two-thirds its travel, where sliders attached to the frame on either side can be slid to engage with the side of the lens standard (each slider having a pointed end that engages in a hole in the standard). I have not come across this arrangement previously.

It appears that this has been modified at some point as a second position for these sliders exists on the frame. It is unclear whether this was a second optional position for the latches that could be chosen according to the lens in use or whether one or other has been added at a later date. Further investigation required!

Notes

Turntables stamped "Royalty" turn up on other cameras and it is clear that these were available as accessory items. I have an example in my collection - a Chapman "The British" field camera.