Manhattan Optical Company
|Plate / Film Size:||4 x 5 plates|
|Shutter:||String set T & I|
|Dimensions (w x h x l):|
|Date of this Example:||c1895|
|Serial Number:||"8 6 6" stamped into wood inside loading door, but in a scattered pattern so unclear if this was intended to be a serial.|
Photos copyright © 2012 David Purcell. Do not use without permission.
The Night-Hawk is a large plate camera in polished oak finish (rather than leather covered). This example is in very good condition. The string set shutter still operates well. The bodywork is in exceptional condition. The leather handle still intact although rather misshapen.
Unlike the Boston or Blair Hawk-Eye Detective cameras, this is of simple construction. No tongue & groove joints here - just simple butt joints that are prone to warping and separation. While there are some gaps, it is in far better condition than most that I have seen (which is only a few).
It came with the original ground glass screen and one dark slide. The rear door is also intact (has to be opened from inside).
This example of the Night-Hawk camera was bought from another collector in the US. He described its history as follows:
"Something about its ungainliness calls attention to it. When you walk into a room that houses a collection . . . your eye is immediately drawn to it.
I know the (now former) owner quite well. Every time I would walk into his collection room - that camera would visually jump out at me. Almost distracting how it stood out.
But still, it is an unusual and quite uncommon piece. They are rarely ever seen, and for whatever reason, in this country when found, they are usually in awful condition. That one is the best I've ever seen.