American Optical Company, Scovill & Adams, Proprietors, New York     1890-1897


By March,1890, Scovill's Waterbury Detective Camera would only be available with leather covering, replacing the ebonized finish on earlier cameras. 


Sometime roughly between March and June, 1890, the new Improved Waterbury Detective Camera was introduced.  Improvements included the relocation of the "T"-shaped focusing lever from the recessed bottom to the camera's top, and the addition of a tensioned steel bar to secure the lens cap in lieu of a string.  The bottom, although slightly recessed about 3/32", was no longer capable of retaining a plate holder. This shortened the height of the camera by approximately 1-1/8".


By June, 1890, a later version of the Improved Waterbury Detective appeared.  Gone was the "T"-shaped focusing handle at the top, now replaced with a graduated knob and rack-and-pinion arrangement to achieve focus. The rack-and-pinion replaced the fork-style connection, previously in use with the "T" lever. With the top-mounted "T" lever having been manufactured for maybe two or three months, this is why the knob focusing version is the one seen most often on surviving examples of the Improved Waterbury Detective.


By January, 1891, the Improved Waterbury Detective Camera was still being offered, but without the Roll Holder and Automatic Register option.  The Mascot and the Triad detective cameras, also offered by Scovill & Adams during this time, were equipped with the Eastman-Walker Roll Holder.


By January, 1892, the Improved Waterbury Detective Camera was no longer offered in 5x7, but by 1896, the 5x7 returns and the camera has now been designated "The Waterbury Detective Cameras" in Scovill & Adams' How to Make Photographs and a Descriptive Catalogue of Photographic Materials Illustrated, 1896.


In 1897, its last year of production, the camera was referred to in advertisements as "The Waterbury Detective Camera" or "The Waterbury, Regular".


By 1897, Scovill & Adams' only remaining detective cameras were the Waterbury Detective (also referred to as the Waterbury Regular), the Waterbury Triad (as the Triad was now called) and the New Waterbury (formerly the Waterbury Hand Camera). They all disappeared from the marketplace that year.











              Original Waterbury Detective             Improved Waterbury Detective