Jan 2, 2011

eBay watch - Boston Bulls eye camera

Again there is an interesting historical camera for sale at eBay. This time it's a Boston Bull's-eye box camera from 1892 - 1895. In the race during the 1890s to win the favor of the snapshooting photographer many manufacturers tried to design cameras that were more compact and more easy to use. The Bulls-eye camera from the Boston Camera Mfg Co was a milestone. It incorporated 3 innovative features that eventualy were used in all the simple boxes up to the 1960s. These are:
  1. daylight loading roll film with paper backing
  2. front roll design: spools placed in front of the plane of focus
  3. red window to read the numbers of the exposures on the backing paper
These 3 together made a very compact, easy to use en cheaper camera. It should have been a succes, but is wasn't until George Eastman bought the whole Boston Camera Mfg Co on August 23, 1895. The Boston Bulls-eye became the Eastman No. 2 Bulls-eye, a very succesful camera that was sold until 1913.
I have written an extensive article about the camera (in Dutch) which you can find here. Even if you can't read it, it is worthwhile looking at the illustrations.

The camera that is for sale is a wooden version. Buy it now price is US$ 400. I think this is too much, considering the condition it is in. The key is missing. A piece of wood is missing along the top front and the lacquer is very worn. But bidding starts at $ 10, so you can take a chance. It is a rare camera!
See my ebonite specimen here.

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