Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Black Beauty Camera

Seneca Camera Company

Name: Black Beauty Camera
Type: Hand & Stand Camera
Manufacturer: Seneca Camera Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Standard format hand & stand camera, but finished in black (simulated ebony). A version also exists in polished mahogany finish.
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: 5 x 7 plates
Lens: Seneca UNO, f8
Shutter: Wollensak Opt Co (T, I, B)
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1912
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 257

<Photographs to be added>


The Seneca Black Beauty is a large black ebonised camera with revolving back. The Black Beauty name plate is located below lens standard. Black bellows, in very good condition. Leather bodywork in good order with just minor surface scuffs. Handle intact.

Shutter is marked with a patent date of 1911. Seneca label on the inside of the camera.

The camera came with its original case, remains of a viewing cloth (falling apart and only fit for the bin), an exposure frame and three original boxed add-on lenses: No 1 Portrait, No 1 Telephoto and No 1 Copying Lens. The portrait has its original instruction sheet marked as Sears, Roebuck and Co, Chicago.


As far as I am aware, Seneca cameras were not imported into Europe. They are relatively common in the US, although the polished mahogany version of this camera (which looks very attractive) is much harder to find.