Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Tourograph Camera

E & T Underwood (Birmingham)

Name: Tourograph
Manufacturer: E & T Underwood (Birmingham)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Self-casing field or view camera, with square-section slightly tapered black leather bellows
Production Period: 1886 - ?


Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: Simple barrel lens with fixed aperture
Shutter: None
Movements: Rising front. Limited tilt on the rear.
Dimensions (h x l x w): 145 x 190 x 145mm (open)
Date of this Example: c1890
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 508


The Underwood Tourograph camera is an unusual and quite uncommon ¼ plate self-casing field or view camera, with square-section slightly tapered black leather bellows and unmarked barrel lens. The camera is showing signs of its age and the brasswork has clearly been polished at some point in the past.

The camera carries the makers label on the top face. The makers name is also stamped into both bottom edges of the box section (stamped into the joints), but on one it adds their location (Birmingham) and on the other states the camera name - "THE TOUROGRAPH". Channing & Dunn [2] describe this camera as appearing in the 1888 advert, but being of tailboard form, which quite clearly it is not. This camera does not appear in Underwood's advert in the Photographic News of August 1899, but is shown in their advert in the BJPA of 1895.

The makers label is a small round decal. The advert for 1895 in the BJPA shows a rectangular label.  The early pattern of maker's label and its size suggests that this is as an early version.

The camera has only vertical adjustment for the lens; the rear can be tilted. Single extension bellows; focussing limited to position of front lens standard (by through bolts clamping it down to the baseboard track) and fine adjustment by virtue of the lens being mounted in a tube to allow it to move back & forth.

The camera is equipped with a mounting for a tripod ring, but the ring itself is missing. The ground glass screen is broken, with a section missing. Note that one of the nuts on the screw down clamps for the lens standard has been replaced on this example (left hand side looking from the front).

I asked the seller about its history and received the following response:

"It was given to me by a lovely old lady. She said it was her fathers, and when he died she kept it for years. She said it would have been bought around 1890."

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This is a comparatively uncommon model.  Underwood field / view cameras seem to appear far less often than the tailboard forms (notably the Instanto).