Solograph Camera Drawings

camera_5A vintage magazine full of bird photographs seems like the perfect place to advertise your latest and best camera. At least, that’s what the Scovill & Adams Company of New York thought when they advertised the “long focus, reversible back, solograph” camera in Bird Lore.

The camera was particularly suited to photographing wildlife as it was adapted for quick work. Remember in movies how taking portraits 100 years ago required everyone to stand perfectly still often for several minutes? Having a camera that could capture the photo quickly was impressive indeed in 1899.

Scovill & Adams first offered their Solograph cameras in 1898. In 1902, a merger led to a name change and they became the Anthony & Scovill Company. The Solograph line was discontinued in 1907, about the same time the company became known as Ansco. This particular model was designed for the advanced amateur. It must have been a beautiful piece as it was made with French hand polished mahagony and brass trimmings. The front lens was the Solograph Rapid Rectilinear. When combined with the back lens, it virtually doubled the focus – an advantage when photographing long-range scenes.

solograph-cameraA slightly lower-end model was “The Solograph.”

Like the Long Focus Reversible Back model, it has a Unicum shutter. This second Solograph camera drawing came from the 1899 edition of The American Annual of Photography. It was published by the Scovill & Adams Company. It was full of photographs and photography tips. What I find curious is that with a magazine full of photographs, some in color, that the company did not use actual photographs of their cameras when they included this photo amongst the text.


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