Last Thursday the early Eastman camera that I had bought early this month arrived. Shipment was super fast, taking only 10 days from the USA to the Netherlands, including customs. After unpacking, admiring it and trying how everything worked, I started cleaning it. Fortunately the camera could be taken apart easily, so wiping it with a moist cloth was not difficult. All the woodwork seemed to be in good condition, with only a few minor scratches. After all the dust was gone the wood was as pretty as 120 years ago.
The bellows was in a bad conditions and I am affraid this camera will never take a photo again. It is not pinholed but bulletholed. One fold was torn from side to side. The thing was falling apart rapidly. First I thought the bellows was made of a rubber coated textile, but it appears to be a thick black paper outer layer on a textile inner layer. To stop the tearing I started to reinforce the inner lining with narrow black strips of thin linen. After that I could start cleaning the outside carefully with a moist cloth, wiping off the dust and dirt. (I would not have used a moist cloth on a leather bellows!) On the sharp edges of the folds the surface was quite worn and the whole thing looked quite shabby. To improve the color I tried a coating of Venetian Cream on a part. The first result looks promising, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see how the paper, glue and textile of the bellows reacts.