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Watson, W and Sons | Watson's Detective Camera (Interior) | English | Quarter Plate

ENGLISH DETECTIVE CAMERA. 1886. Look at this and weep. It is only the innards of a camera masterpiece. This beautiful mahogany camera was meant to be HIDDEN inside a black hat-box type case to take pictures secretly using controls sticking out underneath. When I bought it the case was gone, but I live in hope of finding it one day (don't hold your breath!). When photographic emulsions became fast enough to take reasonable hand held exposures, a craze for 'detective cameras' swept the world, and there was a fashion for cameras concealed in hats, tie pins, walking sticks, and, as in this case, black leather bags held under the arm. It has two dedicated, non-standard dark slides, also in polished mahogany, which would have fitted inside the case. I conjecture that the case must have got so tatty that some past owner threw it away and kept the nice shiny bits. But they were only nice and shiny because they had been inside the tatty case for 121 years or so...

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