Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Improved Cyclone No 4 Camera

Rochester Optical Company

Name: Improved Cyclone No 4 Camera
Type: Magazine Camera
Manufacturer: Rochester Optical Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Magazine camera for plates in metal sheaths
Production Period: 1901 - 1907


Plate / Film Size: 3¼" x 4¼" plates
Lens: Achromatic Meniscus
Shutter: Automatic (T & I)
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1905
Serial Number: Serial 109413 stamped into inside of rear door
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 502

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According to Eaton Lothrop's excellent book on Cyclone cameras, this is the model produced from 1901 to 1907 and therefore could have been produced by the Rochester Optical & Camera Company or by the Rochester Optical Company following its absorption into Eastman Kodak in 1903. There is no firm evidence to confirm the date of this particular camera.

However it is certainly an "Improved" model, having the revised plate changing mechanism that is described in the book.

The camera is in very good condition, with little damage to the leather covering (one small chip on a corner of the rear door). The mechanics still work well and the door hinges are strong. The camera came with 10 original plateholders.

Note that the lower access door used to remove the plates is released from inside the rear of the camera by pulling back the tabs alongside the sprung plate change mechanism.

There is a white disk on the top face of the camera, which is blank - there is no evidence remaining of any print on the surface.


It is unlikely that these cameras were imported into Europe as the market here was dominated by falling plate cameras. There is no entry for Cyclone cameras in the listings for the Royal Photographic society exhibitions.