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Cussons & Co., D.H. | Field Camera | Other | Half Plate

FIELD CAMERA | 1878? This is a high quality and extremely rare camera by a little-known maker. The only known camera by this maker, listed in McKeown's "Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras", is a 4-1/2 x 7-1/2 in. tailboard camera, sold at a London auction. That same camera is also the only one known to Channing and Dunn, who in their definitive "British Camera Makers", have found only one other mention of Cussons: in the 1873 British Journal Photographic Almanac (BJPA). D.H.Cussons & Co., began trading initially in Southport, Lancashire, in 1866, and ceased trading, by now at 79, Bold Street, Liverpool, in 1887. My camera is labelled "Cussons & Co., Patentees, Liverpool", which suggests it is a patented camera, made and labelled after the unknown date when they left Southport and before 1887, when they ceased trading in Liverpool, so the only definite dating that can be given to it is "pre-1887"; but the red, square cornered bellows and the tropical-style dovetailed and screwed corner joints suggest a date probably back into the 1870s. I have taken an educated guess at 1878, because "Patentees" on the label could possibly refer to a patent of that year, in the name of Cussons and Cowan, for an early electro-magnetic shutter; but it might equally well refer to the unique design of the camera's sliding and folding front-fork supports, or to the rotating back. The lens panel was missing from this camera when I received it, so with nothing in the literature, and no other known camera to compare it with, there is no way I can find out what shutter (if any) it originally had.

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