Acme Manufacturing Company, Onalaska, Wisconsin      1898


Made by the Acme Manufacturing Company of Onalaska, Wisconsin, the Mocking Bird Camera was but another in a long line of plate-box style cameras of the late 1890's and early 1900, in the popular 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 format.


Reportedly established in 1898, little has been found regarding the Acme Manufacturing Company or what other cameras or products they may have made or marketed. The Mocking Bird's front panel and viewfinder arrangement is more reminiscent of a Blair Weno Hawk-Eye or an American Camera Mfg. Company Buckeye, both of which were roll film cameras. Otherwise, the Mocking Bird doesn't seem to resemble any other known plate box cameras.


Another plate box camera manufacturer, the Aiken-Gleason Company, also originated in Onalaska, Wisconsin in 1893. It's undetermined whether this company had any connection to the Acme Manufacturing Company.  As has been seen in some instances during the mid-to-late 1890's, cameras made by one company were marketed under different names by another camera company or photographic supplier. More research is needed to sort out the relationships, if any, between these and possibly other Wisconsin-based camera companies.  

The example shown here has no serial or assembly numbers. The label affixed to the loading door states "The Mocking Bird Camera, Manufactured by The Acme Mfg. Co., Onalaska, Wis.":



A rather rare camera, as plate-box style cameras go.  This is the only example I've ever encountered, though I suspect a few more must exist.