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Baker, Charles | Wet Plate Lab. Camera | Other | Half Plate

c.1896. The sorry remains of this simple dovetailed camera came to me shattered, splintered and with at least half the camera missing. There were semi-circular hammer-head marks on the remaining woodwork, but whoever had taken the hammer to it had stopped short about three quarters of the way through destroying it, and as I have never seen, and am never expecting to see, another camera with the nameplate "C. Baker, 244, High Holborn, London", I consider myself lucky to have been able to add one to my collection in any condition at all. I have done a very basic repair, stabilise and conserve on what is left of it, but a full restoration was impracticable. Charles Bakers were in business as scientific instrument makers from 1765 right up into the 1930s, so the camera is difficult to date. It has a hand-operated, built-in flap shutter, like the Watson Laboratory Camera in my collection, and it seems likely that, as Charles Baker was known to specialise in cameras for microphotography and colour photography, this camera may have been meant for such purposes, or for some other laboratory application demanding the long shutter opening times for which the manual shutter would have been intended.

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