Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Universal Camera

Newman & Guardia

Name: Universal Camera
Type: Box Plate Camera
Manufacturer: Newman & Guardia Ltd
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: A large wooden bodies box camera for plates, either in single plate holders or incorporating a removable changing box. Rack and pinion focussing. Two reflecting view-finders. The camera is covered in fine quality leather.
Production Period: 1896-1914


Model / Variant: Special Model B D. P.
Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Protar two element combination lens, 224mm, f6.3
Shutter: N & G pneumatic shutter
Movements: Rising and cross front
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1908
Serial Number: SB1964 in large stamped letters in wood inside door and on lens faceplate. Outer lens number 81383, the inner is 81384.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 81


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The Universal camera is a black box with extending bellows and built in rising & cross front. This version is for single plates rather than a changing box. The camera is in good condition.

The outer lens is removable (it fits into the circular fitting on the inside of the door), allowing two different focal lengths to be employed. The aperture scale has two settings to match the particular lens combination in use. I do not yet know what the "D.P." stands for in the name - Double Protar perhaps?

Numbers stamped into leather e.g. '01234' on top face behind viewfinder relate to the rise & cross front.

From serial data published on the Early Photography web site, the camera is believed to date to about 1908 and is therefore a late example.


The dark slide is unusual as the inside of the door has a sprung pressure plate that is velvet covered. It has been suggested that the slide could be intended for autochrome plates - the velvet was to protect the emulsion side of the plate.

Image of Newman & Guardia autochrome dark slide for Universal camera