Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Stereo Tailboard Camera

Ross & Company

Name: Stereo Tailboard Camera
Type: Tailboard Camera (Stereo)
Manufacturer: Ross & Company (Ltd from 1898)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Early pattern of stereo tailboard, badged as a Ross camera but almost certainly made by Meagher. It has several features that are distinctive of this manufacturer (refer to text).
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: 8 x 5 adapted to ½ plate
Lens: Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear Lenses, with built-in rotating stops
Shutter: None
Movements: Rising and cross front and a tilting back (back is pivoted at the centre)
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1880
Serial Number: Serial 28661 / 28662 on lenses, but no obvious serial on the body of the camera
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 561

<Photographs to be added>


This Stereo Tailboard camera is quite stunning. It is an early pattern stereo brass bound tailboard camera, carrying a Ross / London label on the top face. However it has a number of key features that very strongly suggest that it was made for Ross by Meagher. Identifying features are:

1. Classic side wing design (including screw fixing) - compare with Improved Portable Bellow Camera by Meagher on the Early Photography web site.
2. The layout of the rising and cross front - compare with Improved Portable Bellow Camera on the Early Photography site where the front panel layout is identical (albeit slightly taller) right down to the number and positioning of the fixing screws.
3. Design of the DDS with brass hinges and small circular bone (or ivory) stops on the shutter ends (compare with similar slides on the Kinnear camera by Meagher, again on the excellent Early Photography web site).

The camera is beautifully made and is constructed of Spanish mahogany with lovely dark rich tones, very narrow tongue and groove joints and with a very high quality French polish finish.

The camera has rising and cross front and a tilting back (the back is pivoted at the centre).

It is fitted with a matched pair of Dallmeyer lenses, serials 28661 & 28662. The serial number dates the lenses to c1880, which seems right for the camera also.

The camera came with two DDS that are also brass bound.

The resulting picture size is something I am unsure about. The ground glass screen measures 7¾ x 4¾ inches. Each aperture in the back, split by the septum upright, gives a size of approx 3½ x 4½ inches. The DDS seem to have a aperture size of 8 x 5 inches. However the plate fixing within each DDS seems to have been adapted to accept ½ plates by the addition of further masks. Further investigation required!


Early stereo cameras such as this are quite scarce and tend to command high prices. Check the camera carefully before parting with your hard earned funds!