Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Unknown Detective Camera

Manufacturer Unknown

Name: As yet to be identified
Type: Detective / Hand camera
Manufacturer: Unknown
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Wooden bodied camera, leather covered with internal bellows. Single plate holders loaded in the rear of the camera, where there is also storage for several other holders.
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: Unknown
Shutter: Thornton Pickard Snap Shot roller blind shutter
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1895
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 285


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This is an unknown and unmarked ¼ plate hand or detective style plate camera. This is a well made item, with internal bellows. Focussing is achieved by a slider with lock nut on the underside of the camera, suggesting that it would have to be used on a tripod or perhaps held under the arm (and hence the suggestion that it might have been sold / advertised as a detective camera).

The Thornton-Pickard shutter is mounted to the inside of the front door. It is probable that the T-P shutter string pull should be threaded out through the side of the camera body. A simple release mechanism activates the shutter once cocked. The front hinges open to show a focussing scale that has been replaced with a hand written label. The might have been an internal makers label inside, but nothing is apparent now.

The camera body is leather covered and is in very good order, with only minor scuffing. The original handle is intact. There are two quarter plate DDS and the ground glass screen and frame are also present and in good order. None carry any markings.

Many of the fittings are quite distinctive in style, but not like anything else seen to date.


If you are able to share any further information about this camera, please contact me.